Consultation begins on proposed changes to Devon’s mobile library service
Posted on: 22 October 2013
Devon County Council is launching a consultation with mobile library users, as proposals are considered which would remove underused stopping places from mobile routes, and reduce the frequency of the service, cutting the cost of the service by half.
Approximately 5,100 people across Devon use the Council’s fortnightly mobile library service in rural communities not served by a static library.
Eight mobile libraries currently make 522 stops around Devon, stopping for between 20 minutes to 3 hours, but visitor figures show that 69 stops are significantly underused, with just three or fewer people using these stops.
The Council is proposing to remove the stops from its service, affecting 160 mobile library users. The remaining 4,900 users could see their frequency reduced from fortnightly to monthly stops, although borrowing times would be changed to reflect a new timetable.
The council’s home delivery service to residents who are disabled or who can no longer physically access library services would remain in place.
The change would reduce the council’s spending by £200,000 a year, contributing to the £110 million cuts the council faces over the next four years because of Government cuts to its funding.
It would also reduce the council’s mobile fleet by four vehicles, which are otherwise now due to be replaced.
Councillor Roger Croad, the Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for the service said:
“The mobile library service costs nearly twice per customer, compared to the average cost per customer to our static libraries.
“69 of the 522 mobile library stops are used by just three or fewer customers. When we undertook a major review of the mobile library service 3 years ago, we introduced criteria to ensure the stops were well used. We have now reviewed usage of all stops and our proposal is to remove these significantly underused stops from our routes, but maintain the service to the majority of customers.
“We have four mobile vehicles approaching the end of their useful life, and if these proposals go ahead, it would mean that we no longer need them, reducing our costs considerably.”
Six weeks of consultation starts this week with all mobile library users, as the council seeks to get people’s views and understands the possible impact that the proposals may have. Once comments have been analysed, the Council hopes to make a decision in December with a view to introducing a change to the service in the new financial year.Posted in: Community