A consultation on the future of how Somerset County Council library services could be delivered across Somerset is due to start at the end of this month.
A formal decision was taken on 19th January to consult on a set of proposals that seek to put the service on a sustainable footing for the long-term.
The decision sets out that a public consultation will start on 29 January and run for 12 weeks (ending 22 April) and invites members of the public, businesses and organisations for their views.
Somerset County Council currently provides a library service online through LibrariesWest, a mobile library, a home delivery service for customers unable to visit a library for themselves and through 34 library buildings in major towns and villages.
As with many Authorities, Somerset County Council continues to face challenging financial times. Funds from central government reduce year on year whilst demand for services, such as adult and children’s social care, increase and all County Council services are considering efficiency and cost reduction options.
In summary, under the proposals, 15 of our 34 library buildings would be seeking community involvement to remain open. Where this is not possible, services would instead be provided either through outreach in community venues or through additional mobile library stops.
For 7 of our libraries, the County Council is consulting on two alternative options – either to seek community involvement to maintain library buildings or to keep existing library services as they currently are. Cheddar Library is included in this alternative option.
There are Somerset library service proposals for 9 areas in total available to view. Anyone taking part in the consultation will be asked to view the area of the library they visit most often before completing a questionnaire asking for their views on the proposals.
The proposals and the questionnaire will be available online from 29 January at www.somerset.gov.uk/librariesconsultation