Cabinet received a report from the Cabinet Member for City Centre Management, Culture and Tourism.
The purpose of the report was to allow Cabinet to consider the consultation responses received from the first consultation process, and subsequent approval for the next steps on libraries including a second, eight week public consultation on possible, affordable delivery approaches, to libraries which would meet the Council’s statutory obligations.
Councillor Serluca introduced the item and highlighted the main issues contained within. The Council’s Culture and Leisure Partnership Manager added further points of clarification.
Cabinet debated the report and key points raised and responses to questions included:
· Further work was still being undertaken in respect of Community Centres, and there was as yet, no recommendations in relation to the future of the 33 Council Community Centres;
· The Mobile Library and Books at Home Service were not part of the consultation and would continue as previously;
· The timetables for the libraries would be confirmed after the consultation;
· In relation to disabled users, all libraries were situated on single floors, bar Bretton, which had a lift;
· The new Open+ technology was fully accessible by disabled users;
· Training on the Open+ system would be provided for new users and the general public had been witnessed using the service at a recent trip to Leeds;
· The group sessions for young people at the libraries were not due to cease, more group activities within the libraries were being encouraged;
· There were links with the Council’s Digital Strategy and there was 24 hour access to downloadable books direct from the library websites. City Fibre would be located within all the libraries allowing for super-fast broadband connections;
· A version of the model was already functioning at Hampton Library and there had been no issues encountered during the un-staffed hours. The monitoring in place and the ownership of the community would enable a successful system;
· All neighbourhood police would start using the libraries and there would be volunteers;
· There was no intention to make the libraries fully automated in the future; and
· There had been 375 libraries closed throughout the country over the past two years.
Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED:
1. To consider the responses received to the first consultation as set out in the report; and
2. To approve the basis for the second public consultation on the future delivery model of library services in Peterborough.
REASONS FOR THE DECISION
The reasons for the report were for Cabinet to approve the proposed new approach to delivering Peterborough’s library services in the future and approval to conduct a second consultation.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED
The Council had explored, but for the time discounted two other options for the delivery of library services in Peterborough that would achieve a similar level of saving:
1. The option of putting all of the available staffing resource into Central Library to create an enhanced 7 day city centre offer, supplemented by the library mobile service;
2. Central, Bretton, Orton, Werrington and Dogsthorpe libraries remain open with reduced staff hours, but would be available for further hours with no staff. Hampton to remain as a purely self-service library; and
3. Eye, Dogsthorpe, Stanground, Thorney and Woodston libraries to close. However if community groups came forward any of these could remain open by being run by volunteers at no additional cost to the Council.