Somerset County Council (SCC) is providing local residents with an opportunity to air their views and find out more about potential changes in the future delivery of library services in Wellington at a drop-in session at the library on Saturday 17th February from 10am to 1pm.
SCC has said that it “is fully committed to continuing to deliver a thriving, modern library service across Somerset. As with many authorities, however, we continue to face challenging financial times. Somerset County Council received £90 million in 2013/14 from central government to support our services. This has reduced to just over £26 million for 2017/18 and is set to reduce to nothing by 2020/21. However, demand for services has increased, particularly in Adults’ and Children’s social care services. We have managed to reduce our libraries budget by 20% since 2011 whilst keeping all of our libraries open. Going forward, we may need to consider more challenging changes in order to keep the libraries service on a sustainable financial footing.
“We stress that no decisions about the future delivery of library services in any community have been taken at this time and the results of this consultation will be taken into account in our decision-making. No decisions will be made until the results of this consultation (ending 22 April) have been fully analysed and reviewed.”
SCC is presenting two options exploring how it might deliver library services in Wellington:
Provide library services through
– either a partnership with the local community to maintain a library building in Wellington (supported by some funding from the County Council),
– or by delivering outreach library services (such as events, activities, small book collections and/or public computer terminals via alternative venues), and providing one or more additional mobile library stops. This would mean the closure of the current library building, with library services being provided in other ways.
No change to existing library services.
Wellington Library serves a catchment population of 27,860. It is currently open for 37 hours per week, has 1,671 active borrowers and an annual footfall of 68,531. Apart from Taunton Library, it has the largest usage in the local area.