Have you say on mobile libraries

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

Residents still have three weeks to give their views on the future of Derbyshire County Council’s mobile library service in a consultation to help the authority deal with budget cuts.

The council has to cut £157 million over the next four years and is looking at making changes to services across the council.

Its mobile fleet currently consists of two large maximum capacity vehicles (MCVs) and eight smaller standard mobile libraries. It costs the authority £720,000 a year to run the service which currently employs 26 people – equivalent to 18 full time staff.

More than 7,000 residents have already taken part in the consultation which has been running in two stages since January.

The second stage, developed using feedback from people who took part in Stage 1, outlines a proposal to maintain two standard mobile libraries working to a four-weekly timetable.

Further comments on the full range of options and alternative suggestions about how the mobile library service should be provided in the future will also continue to be welcomed.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “We’ve already had a good number of responses to the consultation but there are still three weeks left for others to take part. These are difficult decisions and I want to make sure we make the most informed choice based on local people’s views.

“Sadly we have no alternative but to review services. The council is facing extraordinary and unprecedented budget pressures so it’s inevitable that many of our services will be subject to change and it’s important residents take the opportunity to have their say in that.

“I’d like to thank everyone who’s already taken part so far and no plans will be finalised until we’ve considered all the responses we receive.”

Out of 383 communities currently visited, the proposal developed from the initial public feedback would allow at least 140 (37%) of them to continue receiving the service with one stop per community. It would also allow the service to be retained at selected locations, some of which are too inaccessible for the larger MCVs to reach.

The consultation will run until Saturday, August 9. Questionnaires are available in all county council branch and mobile libraries and GP surgeries or can be completed online at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/mobilelibraries

Copies can also be requested from Call Derbyshire on 01629 533365.

It is expected final proposals on the future of the mobile library service will be presented to the council’s Cabinet for consideration in September.

For more information about The Derbyshire Challenge – the council’s plan for how it will manage the cuts – visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/challenge