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Information on the proposed library changes

The following details the changes we're proposing to our library service.

We're not considering closing any libraries

We know the important role the library service plays in all our communities and have outlined our commitment to providing a high-quality, accessible service in our most recent Council Plan (2017-2021).

Unlike some other authorities, no local libraries (building-based) have closed in Derbyshire in recent years and a number of new, replacement libraries have been built (South Normanton, Heanor and Ashbourne). A new replacement library has just opened in Glossop and another is planned for Belper.

Why we're considering making changes to the library service

In common with local authorities across the country, we continue to face significant budget pressures on services (inflation, growing demands on services for older people and children), while funding from Central Government is reducing.

This year we must save £12million (2018/19), and achieve a total of £53million savings up to 2020.

To meet this savings target, we’re looking at ways of doing things differently, running services more efficiently and effectively, and making bold decisions.

We know how important the library service is to our communities, but this doesn't make it immune from current challenges, which is why we must look to make changes.

Savings of £1.6million have been identified for the library service to be realised by 2021. Running and fully funding a predominantly building-based service, with 45 local libraries and 2 mobile vehicles is increasingly difficult to sustain.

The proposed changes are not just about achieving savings. We need to have a library service that’s modern, fit for purpose and reflects the changing use of libraries. In line with national trends, the number of people visiting our libraries is down by 21% and there’s been a 33% reduction in the number of books borrowed in recent years.

By drafting a plan (Public Library Service Strategy – Libraries for Derbyshire), we intend to secure the future of all county libraries and minimise the possibility of library closures or significant reductions in service.

Find out which tier your local library is in and why

Find information about the tiering system and details of tier 4 libraries.

We've consulted on changes to the mobile library service

Following a reduction in the number of mobile library vehicles, agreed in 2014, a new service using 2 vehicles to cover the county was launched in January 2015. Since its launch there has been a steady and ongoing reduction in the use of the mobile library service in terms of book issues and customer visits.

Based on its current use and the need to deliver a more dynamic and responsive service, particularly to rural communities, we’re also consulting on seeking greater involvement from voluntary and community organisations, with the aim of working with them to explore different ways the mobile service could be delivered.

We’re committed to keeping libraries open even if there’s a lack of support for the proposals

If there is a lack of support for the proposals and our preferred option, the library service would need to review all aspects of the current service provided, and may need to consider making further significant reductions (on top of those proposed) to opening hours, staffing, the materials fund and mobile library service.

This could result in some libraries being open for less than one day a week with few or no new books or resources added to their current stock.

However, our commitment to keep all libraries open will remain the same.

Community managed libraries (CMLs)

Community managed libraries (CMLs) are community-led and volunteer-managed libraries, normally with some form of professional and ongoing council support. Read more about community managed libraries.

Smart libraries

Smart libraries use the latest technology which allows users to enter locked library buildings using their library card and a PIN to borrow books and log on to the internet without staff being present. Supervision of library buildings using CCTV helps to deter and detect any unacceptable behaviour.

In the future, smart libraries potentially offer up not only further savings but also the opportunity to reverse some previous reductions, for example in opening hours, and the increased use of self-service in libraries.

Proposals to develop and implement smart libraries in Derbyshire would be subject to a further, detailed report that would be considered by our Cabinet.

We’ll retain all libraries as part of Derbyshire’s statutory network

We’re not giving libraries away to other organisations and groups. We’re proposing that community-managed libraries are retained as part of Derbyshire’s statutory network. This will ensure services are delivered to a specific standard, are more likely to be sustainable, and will continue to meet our statutory obligations.

We’re proposing other changes to make the savings

The potential savings from transferring 20 libraries to community management, reducing opening hours at council-run libraries, greater involvement from volunteers and community organisations with running the mobile library service, adopting a tiered approach so resources can be provided in a proportionate way, and staffing changes are estimated to be approximately £1.6million.

Estimated savings:

  • transfer 20 libraries to community management and relocate service - £500,000
  • change opening hours at 25 libraries (to reflect busy and less busy times) - £400,000
  • library service staffing restructure - £360,000
  • reducing the materials fund (such as books) - £140,000
  • mobile library service - £200,000.