Barnsley Council will be talking to local communities in more depth about their local libraries, with a view to creating a modernised library service with the new central library at its heart.
In response to reducing budgets and changing customer needs, the libraries service is being redesigned. The council doesn’t plan to close any libraries at this time – it is looking in-depth at each area of Barnsley to create a service that works for everyone.
This is an extension of the conversations that took place last year, and will help the council to get a deeper understanding of individual libraries and the needs of every local community.
The Council will have less money to spend by 2020. It needs to save £872k on customer services, which includes saving £165k on library services. This means that the way libraries are run must change.
Cllr Jenny Platts, Cabinet spokesperson for communities, said:
“Each area of Barnsley has its own needs and we need to create a library service to meet these needs. Partners and community groups have already told us they’d like to be involved. We’re not planning to close libraries at this time, but to create a more effective and efficient service.
“We know that people are using less traditional library services – they’re going online and using libraries as meeting places and for activities. We know that only 7% of people living in Barnsley borrow from libraries. We need to use more IT and digital technology as well as exploring new opening hours and management models.
“This is a chance for our communities and partners to have their say and re-energise their local libraries.”
Options might include sharing facilities with partners to make the best use of Barnsley’s public sector resources. Any changes would meet the statutory requirements of the Public Libraries Act.
The council will be talking directly with community groups and partners in each area to get as much feedback as possible on all of Barnsley’s libraries. This engagement period will take place from October 2017 to January 2018.
People can expect to see proposals for a new service by summer 2018, at which point there would be a formal public consultation before any decisions are made. Any changes will come into effect in 2019.
Find out how to get involved at www.barnsley.gov.uk/LetsTalkLibraries