Your News: A fresh approach to making library services efficient

Seasons greetings to Local readers from Martin Hill and his dog Boris
Seasons greetings to Local readers from Martin Hill and his dog Boris

As I explained in my first column, the council is finding new ways of doing things in light of our reduced budget.

We’re now taking a fresh approach to libraries, so we can continue to provide a comprehensive service while getting much better value for money.

And in Bourne we’ve already taken steps to make library services more efficient. Back in March, the library moved next to the new South Kesteven Community Point, giving it a new lease of life.

As a result, the library now benefits from longer opening hours. And its more central location and better parking make it easier to visit at a time that’s convenient for you.

Importantly, by sharing space with the district council we’re saving taxpayers money.

Now services elsewhere are being transformed. Under our proposals, 15 larger libraries, including Bourne, will continue to be council staffed.

We know rural communities value their mobile library service, so we’ll continue to provide a large number of stops around the county, including in Thurlby, Rippingale and Greatford.

In addition, we’ll have a wide range of online services, such as e-books, which we’ll look at expanding.

These services will be complemented by up to 40 community-run libraries, staffed by local volunteers.

So far, we’ve had expressions of interest for 25 existing libraries, as well as seven communities wanting to create brand-new facilities. That means we’re likely to end up with even more static libraries than we started with.

Communities will receive a comprehensive support package, including more than £5,000 per year to put towards their running costs and ongoing professional advice. Groups can also get a one-off grant of £15,000 to help set up their facility, with the council maintaining the exterior of the buildings on which it has the freehold.

In addition, the council will continue to run the existing libraries at reduced hours for up to a year, giving volunteers plenty of time to lay firm foundations for the future.

I’d like to thank those that have offered their support, and look forward to working with them. I’m sure together we can create a modern library service that’s tailored to local needs.

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