A series of drop-in consultation events will be taking place over the next two months to allow members of the public to have their say on Swindon Council’s new library strategy which could see the closure of 11 out of 15 libraries in the borough.
The Council’s cabinet approved the library strategy last week (13 July), which will see a core library network maintained including Central, North Swindon, West Swindon and Highworth. The strategy is in direct response to the financial pressures facing the Council and the need to save £1.5m from the library’s budget by 2020.
The core library network proposed in the strategy meets 74 per cent of current visits and would ensure that 80 per cent of current library users and 85 per cent of Swindon’s households are within two miles of a library.
The provision could be extended even further as £500,000 in transitional funding to pay for the one-off costs of viable community-led solutions was also approved by councillors. Opening hours could also be extended beyond staff hours in the four core libraries via investment in self-service technology.
The consultation events are being held for people to raise any questions or provide feedback on the library strategy. There will also be a public meeting on Tuesday, 6 September at St Joseph’s Catholic College, Ocotal Way between 7pm and 9pm.
The drop-in events will be held at all 15 of Swindon’s libraries as well as the mobile library service.
The dates of the consultation events are as follows:
- Wednesday, 3 August (10am to 3pm) Central Library
- Wednesday, 10 August (4pm-8pm) Highworth Library
- Tuesday, 16 August (6pm-8pm) Central Library
- Thursday, 18 August (10am-3pm) North Swindon Library
- Tuesday, 23 August (9am-2pm) West Swindon Library
- Monday, 5 September (11am-3pm) Park Library
- Monday, 5 September (4pm-8pm) Wroughton Library
- Wednesday, 7 September (10am-2pm) Liden Library
- Wednesday, 7 September (as advertised) Mobile Library Route A
- Thursday, 8 September (4pm-8pm) West Swindon Library
- Saturday, 10 September (9am-1pm) Old Town Library
- Monday, 12 September (10.30am-12.30pm) Even Swindon Library
- Tuesday, 13 September (10am-2pm) Moredon Library
- Wednesday, 14 September (4pm-8pm) North Swindon Library
- Thursday, 15 September (1pm-5pm) Upper Stratton Library
- Saturday, 17 September (10am-2pm) Central Library
- Monday, 19 September (10am-2pm) Pinehurst Library
- Tuesday, 20 September (3pm-7pm) Covingham Library
- Wednesday, 21 September (9.30am-1pm) Walcot Library
- Thursday, 22 September (10am-2pm) Highworth Library
- Monday, 26 September (10am-2pm) Penhill Library
Cllr Mary Martin, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, said: “We want as many people as possible to have their say on the new library strategy as their views are really important to us.
“We are facing an incredibly challenging financial position and our library strategy seeks to address that while also meeting our vision of improving literacy and learning within our communities.
“We have a comprehensive programme of engagement events over the next two months and I would urge anyone who is interested in the future of the library strategy to attend one of the events, ask questions and fill in a questionnaire.”
Alongside the consultation events, the Council is also keen to hear the views of residents by way of a questionnaire, which will be available in all libraries and can also be filled online between Monday, 1 August and Friday, 30 September.
The full library strategy can be accessed by visiting: www.swindon.gov.uk/librariesfuture People who would like to ask any questions or attend one of the drop-in events can email: email@example.com