12/05/2022 - Permalink

Shropshire Council seeking views on new libraries strategy

Related topics: Leisure, culture and heritage

A public consultation about refreshing Shropshire Council’s library strategy has been launched, so library users and the wider community can help identify local priorities and reflect the community’s needs.

The consultation is available to complete online from today (Thursday 12 May 2022).

The strategy looks to enhance the way the libraries deliver services to ensure every location provides an efficient and cost-effective service that meets people’s needs.

A six-point plan has been proposed to transform services over a three-year period. The plan will see libraries:

  • Improving opportunities for reading, literacy, culture and creativity
  • Improving health and wellbeing of communities
  • Promoting economic recovery and growth
  • Supporting communities that are resilient and inclusive
  • Offering more innovative and sustainable services
  • Enabling discovery of the digital world.

Shropshire Council’s library service currently operates through a network of 21 static libraries, a prison library and three mobile libraries, and while the mix of provision will continue, each location will be reviewed individually to maximise their potential.

Opportunities for co-location, where libraries will share space within other community locations, will also be considered to allow them to meet community need.

Changes to the current library service structure will also be explored, supported by a clear workforce strategy, to enable staff to adapt and enhance their roles to become more pro-actively involved in wider community engagement.

In support of these proposals it is intended self-service kiosks will be installed in all libraries, along with contactless card payments, and library opening hours will be tailored to reach people with the greatest needs.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, said:-

“The libraries strategy is about the evolution of the libraries service and encouraging more people through their doors to access a broader range of services.

“By co-locating some libraries and offering access to more services, including using digital means such as self-scanning of books to free up our staff to focus on creating more effective links to our communities, we want to encourage more people to visit our libraries.

“Our user surveys revealed the majority of library visitors are over 60. This strategy aims to make libraries more attractive to the wider community.

“The six-point plan demonstrates how the service can work with partner organisations to promote health and wellbeing, improve people’s understanding of, and access to, digital services, become a hub for communities, and support enterprise and businesses.”

To have your say on the future of Shropshire libraries, go to https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/shropshire-library-strategy-2022-to-2027/ to complete the survey.