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New arrangements for library services from 5th April

Central Library

 

 

Thursday, 16th March 2017

New operating arrangements for Swindon’s library service will come into force on 5th April 2017. The changes to the service follow the decision by the Council’s Cabinet in December 2016 to implement a new strategy for the library service.

The service will be provided by a network of five core libraries: Central, North Swindon, West Swindon, Highworth and Park, which will be moving to new staffed hours and make greater use of technology to provide access at other times. Local parish councils are also contributing funding to extend the number of staffed hours at West, Highworth and Park libraries. 

The Council is keen to ensure the core libraries remain accessible to library users and is procuring technology to enable the libraries to be accessed outside of staffed hours.  This will be installed on a phased basis across the core libraries from April.  Once installed, the core libraries will be accessible from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am – 7pm on Saturdays and 9am to 5pm on Sundays.  Library members will need to register to use self-serve access and training will be provided.  More details on this will be provided via the Council’s website as they become available. 

The Council will be maintaining the non-core libraries of Covingham, Even Swindon, Liden, Moredon, Old Town, Penhill, Pinehurst, Upper Stratton, and Wroughton Libraries until the end of August 2017.  These will be staffed for 15 hours per week, except Even Swindon, which will be staffed to its current opening hours. 

Walcot Library is currently subject to a community bid that seeks to convert this to community-led services ahead of August 2017.  Pending approval of that bid, it will continue to operate to its current staffed hours.   

The Council is currently working with community organisations which are developing business plans for local library services. The plans have to be submitted to the Council by 31st March for consideration and announcements will be made in April. 

There will also be a number of changes to charges from 5th April which will include a small charge for reading groups ordering large numbers of the same book, an increase in fine fees, an increase in DVD rental charges and the re-introduction of reservation charges. Further information about charges at the Swindon Library Service will be available on the Council website.

As a result of the changes to staffed and unstaffed opening hours, some regular library activities may be subject to change.  The Council fully appreciates how important and valuable these services are and will do its best to reschedule them where possible. Library users should check with their local libraries directly to see what activities will be running after April 2017. Also, all libraries will be closed from 1st to 4th April for staff training, stock relocation and to prepare for extended opening hours.

Full information about changes to the library service including opening times can be found in local libraries or on the Council’s website at: www.swindon.gov.uk/librariesfuture

Cllr Mary Martin, Cabinet Member for Communities, said:

“These are significant changes to the library service. We have looked closely at how best to structure the service and I am extremely grateful for the comments we received from Swindon residents during last year’s review.

“I am confident that we will deliver library services that make the best use of our financial resources, technology and staffing to meet most library users’ needs. In particular the extended hours provision which will allow more flexible access to a wider range of people.  I am also delighted we have received such positive interest in our community library provision and that local parish councils have shown such great support for their local libraries.”