Posted: Monday 8th January 2018
Hertfordshire residents have the chance to help shape the future of library services in the county by taking part in the Inspiring Libraries consultation.
The public consultation is open from 8 January to 18 February 2018 and seeks to find out library users, residents and other interested parties’ views on whether an alternative delivery model approach would work in Hertfordshire.
‘Inspiring Libraries – the next phase’ was recently agreed by the county council to set out our ambitions and priorities for Hertfordshire libraries for 2018 - 2021, building on the achievements from the original Inspiring Libraries strategy that was launched in 2014.
Part of the strategy sets out a suggested proposal for delivering the library service in a different way, which could contribute savings to the ongoing pressures on the county council budget. This idea is supported by national government and similar models are already in place in a number of other local authorities, including Suffolk, Nottinghamshire and Devon.
Each of these areas has a slightly different approach, but all are based on the creation of an independent organisation – a social enterprise, charity or co-operative to deliver library services on behalf of the council. This could achieve a range of benefits, including a potential saving in non-domestic rates, and may enable the service to access grants and other sources of funding that would not be available to the county council.
Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said:
“Ongoing pressure on the county council budget means that we have to consider how we can continue to save money across all services.
“In order to achieve our ambitions for ‘Inspiring Libraries’ within a reduced budget and put ourselves in the best position to grasp future opportunities, we need to identify the most appropriate way of managing the library services in the years ahead, and we welcome your views.”
Findings from the consultation will be presented to County Councillors in spring 2018, along with the results of exploratory work on the business case for an alternative delivery model.
You can complete the consultation survey by visiting www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/libraryconsultation.