Image demonstrating Public asked to help shape future of library service

Public asked to help shape future of library service

Northumberland residents could be asked for their opinion to help shape the future of the county’s library service.

A report will be discussed at next Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting (Sep 17th) of Northumberland County Council, which will recommend that the council agrees to a public consultation on the service.

If agreed it is proposed that a consultation of up to 12 weeks will be held to gather people’s opinion on how the service should be run in the future.

The consultation will aim to get the opinions of both library users and non-users. Views will be captured via an online survey, with paper copies also available at libraries. A series of drop-in sessions will also be held for residents to ask questions or provide verbal feedback.

It is hoped the consultation will help identify the most valued aspects of the service and the barriers to library use across the county. The results of the consultation will help the council focus on how the service is delivered in the future.

Following a decision next week the proposed consultation would start in the Autumn, with initial findings expected in early 2020.

As a statutory service the council is required to carry out a public consultation exercise if changes to the service are proposed.

Cllr Cath Homer, cabinet member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism said: “Northumberland’s library service has undergone many changes in recent years, however we feel that now is the time to look again at the service and make sure that it is serving the needs of our communities.

“We have been committed, since bringing the service back into the council in 2017, to building a stronger and more consistent service, but we now need to ensure that we understand what people value about their library and what they think we could do more of, or improve.

“This consultation will offer people the opportunity to have their say to help us design a library service that works for all. Even if you’re not currently a regular user of the service we want to hear from you to understand what could be done to encourage more people to use their library.”
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