Kirklees Library and Information Centres Consultation

It's time to talk

Huddersfield Library and Art GalleryThe library service is working with Qa Research Ltd on the Kirklees Library consultation, which will run for 12 weeks between 19th January 2015 and 10th April 2015.

The council has consulted on its overall budget in two stages in autumn 2014. Phase 1 (Sept 2014) was an initial consultation on some broad principles. Phase 2 (Nov 2014) focused on some budget options.

Around a quarter of people who responded to Phase 2 of the overall budget consultation (26%) said they felt that it was a ‘good idea’ to develop alternative options for running our library services, with a further quarter (24%) saying this was an ‘OK idea’ in the context of the budget cuts faced by the council. 18%, however, were ‘not keen’ and 19% said they felt this was a ‘bad idea’.

In September and October 2012 we consulted on the library service, and since that consultation, Friends of the library groups have been established and volunteers are working to enhance our service. Locally, staff and volunteers have been looking at income generation e.g. ticketed events in libraries and room hire. Also, various Friends of groups are looking to invest in drinks machines. We have rolled out automated lending to almost half of our sites and e-books will be introduced this month.

Councillor Graham Turner (Portfolio Holder for Resources) said:

“The economic downturn has meant that the library service will now have to deliver services with a much reduced budget and we need to look at new ways of working to ensure we maintain an efficient and comprehensive service. We need to consult on proposals and consider responses from users and non-users of the service.

“We are committed to providing the best service we can within the financial constraints of a reduced budget. Officers and I have been engaging with many groups over the last few months to try to find positive solutions to enable us to provide a library service with the help and support of local communities.

“In order to meet customer expectations, it is proposed that our libraries should be delivered using three different models: Town Libraries, Community Supported and Community Run, with the possibility of book drops in some locations. More details about these models will be available on the library website from 19th January 2015.

“It is proposed that the Council should seek opportunities to co-locate libraries with other services to achieve savings while maintaining service provision and that the Library Service should invest in the development of technology to improve service delivery, to support digital inclusion, and to empower citizens. It is also proposed that mobile libraries should be reviewed to explore alternative options, including replacing the current mobile library service with an expanded Home Library Service”.

A self-completion questionnaire will be available on the library website and in libraries and community venues from 19 January 2015 and throughout the period of the consultation. There will also be managers available to talk through the proposals at all service points and on mobile libraries on various dates throughout the consultation period. Details can be obtained from individual libraries or via the website. Face to face and telephone interviews will be undertaken with a sample of users and non-users in all areas of Kirklees.

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