Have your say on future of libraries

RESIDENTS have three weeks left to have their say on the future of libraries in Central Bedfordshire through a public consultation.

There are 12 libraries in Central Bedfordshire – including one in Shefford and one in Stotfold – a resource centre in Arlesey, a Library Link housebound service and an online virtual library.

The library service, run by Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), must make savings of �435,000 over the next two years.

Identified efficiencies include a reduction in management posts and administration costs, the closure of the mobile library service and the cessation of homework centres.

Further savings include the potential of investing in self-service technology.

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Not all libraries will be the same in the future. It is intended that each library will have a different focus, depending on what people want – a family library, computers and technology learning, a library as a community space, or as a place to read and relax, for instance.

Cllr Ian Darlgano said: “Like many services across the country, the library service in Central Bedfordshire faces significant challenges.

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“We need to find ways to save money and continue to deliver – and improve – a service that meets local needs and the needs of future generations.”

He continued: “We want to assure residents that the council is not intending to close libraries.

“The aim of the Future of Libraries consultation is to help improve the services which libraries currently offer, making them modern and even more accessible to the community.

“I would encourage everyone who values their library to take part in our current consultation which ends on January 18.”

People can respond to the Future of Libraries consultation, which launched in October, at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations or by collecting a hard copy at libraries across Central Bedfordshire.

Responses will be used to inform the 15-year Library Service Strategy, which will be presented to the council in spring 2012 when a final decision will be made.

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