Still time to give views on schools library service proposals

6 February 2018

Schools have until the end of this week to give their views on a proposal to close the Derbyshire and Derby City Schools Library Service.

The Schools Library Service (SLS), which is not connected to schools' own libraries, provides support and resources to schools and educational establishments across the city and Derbyshire and is provided jointly by ourselves and the city.

We're holding a six-week consultation which ends this Sunday (11 February 2018) asking schools, nurseries and other educational establishments and providers which use, have used or could use the service for their views on the proposal to close the SLS. The SLS, based in Kedleston Road, Derby, offers a range of educational resources on loan, with the main resource being artefacts, but also paintings, prints and DVDs.

Use of the service has been in decline and in 2016/2017. Only 143 out of 425 Derbyshire schools and 42 out of 109 Derby City schools used the service − a total of 35% of eligible schools. Over the past nine years income to the SLS from loans and other services it provides has reduced by about 43%.

In 2016/2017 the funding received by the SLS was £176,000 (£149,000 from ourselves and £27,000 from the city council). The money is currently taken from local authority maintained school budgets, but this amount is in decline due to the growth of academies. With changes to funding school budgets likely to come in to force over the next two to three years, the SLS would have to raise minimum charges (based on current use of the service) to a much greater level.

Derbyshire County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism Councillor Barry Lewis said:

"Proposing to close a service is never something we take lightly.

"However, we are having to look closely at all the services we provide to ensure they are offering value for money for Derbyshire residents, and we know that fewer and fewer schools are using the SLS.

"There is still time for schools and other educational establishments to give their views during the consultation and we hope they will take the opportunity to do this."

Schools and other current users of the service should have been contacted directly to give their views via an online questionnaire. Other interested groups can take part by accessing the Schools Library Service questionnaire (opens in a new window).