Consultation has now begun on proposals to transform the way library services are delivered in Plymouth.
Our draft Plan for Libraries aims to modernise the city’s library services over the next three years so they better meet the needs of local communities and make better use of resources.
We have a network of 17 libraries but there are big differences in the services they offer and many are under-used and expensive to run. Just seven libraries account for 80 per cent of all library visits and 75 per cent of all items borrowed.
Visitor numbers and lending figures are also falling – as they are nationally – and we need to find more flexible and convenient ways of providing services that can adapt to our customers’ changing needs.
Under the proposals we’ll invest in a smaller network of seven high-quality libraries that are welcoming and vibrant and offer the same sorts of services we see at the popular Central Library.
This will include refurbishing or redeveloping buildings where necessary, for example at St Budeaux, where there has not been any significant investment for a number of years.
Everyone will be within two miles of a library building but we will improve our outreach services to include things like ‘pop-up’ libraries delivering services such as Rhymetimes and click-and-collect points at various community venues and events.
We will also improve our selection of eBooks, audiobooks and digital magazines and work with partners to provide support and information sessions, like digital skills training and job seeking advice, where they are really needed.
We’ve taken into account feedback received during our recent Library Conversation, as well as a detailed analysis of our library buildings, usage and the needs of our local communities.
Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture, said: “The way people use library services is changing but we haven’t altered our library network in more than 15 years.
“Many of our libraries are under-used with little or no scope for development but changes in technology mean we don’t need to be constrained by our buildings; services can be delivered online and out in communities.
“The draft plan sets out a future for library services that will ensure all our buildings are modern and fit-for-purpose, as well as provide an exciting online offer, available 24/7 and a wide-ranging outreach service out that can be more responsive to community needs.”
The draft Plan for Libraries is a proposal at this stage and no decisions have been made. We want as many people as possible to share their views over the next 12 weeks and are holding public meetings and drop-in sessions where you can give feedback and ask questions.
For more information (including a list of FAQs) and to make comments visit our Plan for Libraries page. Consultation will run until Wednesday 19 April.