The redesign of Kent’s mobile library service is to go ahead, following a public consultation.
KCC’s proposals are intended to provide a more efficient and effective service at a lower cost to the county council.
They were endorsed by the council’s Growth and Economic Development Committee and the six-week consultation was launched on 22 January.
The results of the consultation have since been analysed by an independent organisation and KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, Mike Hill, has today agreed that the changes should go ahead.
At the moment, the 11 mobile libraries make 651 stops at a cost of more than £367,000 per year to Kent council taxpayers.
KCC has analysed the performance of this service over the last year.
Some of the stops had very low levels of use and KCC therefore proposed to reduce the number of stops, focusing on improving the service where it is well used while ensuring all customers have the means to still access a library service, through access to online services, the Home Library service or using one of the 99 library buildings in the county.
KCC’s consultation asked for the views on its proposals from those who use the mobile libraries and other Kent residents.
In total 1,554 people responded to the consultation and 86% of those were people who are currently using the service. The results of the consultation showed that the majority of people who responded agreed with the proposals put forward.
The feedback from the consultation has been considered and there will be changes to the final timetables as a result plus the addition of 23 stops to the rotas.
These changes are a result of looking at suggestions and feedback put forward by customers.
Customers will not see any immediate changes to the mobile library operation while KCC plans for the new service which is expected to come into effect in late July 2016.
Mike Hill said: “KCC is committed to protecting and enhancing our library service.
“We feel the change to the mobile library operation will continue to provide an excellent service to those library users who are unable to visit a permanent library, while at the same time producing savings for the council.”
- The consultation attracted a total of 1,554 responses;
- 1,418 were from individuals (accounting for 91% of the sample)
- The vast majority of Consultees (86%) indicated that they currently use the mobile library service.
- Consultees were then asked to indicate their level of agreement with three proposed improvements / changes to the mobile library stops, namely:
- Changing the frequency of visits to each location to every two weeks
- Changing the days Kent County Council operate the Mobile Library Service from Monday to Friday to Tuesday to Saturday
- Changing the minimum stop time, increasing it from 10 minutes to 30 minutes
- Just over two thirds of Consultees (67%) indicated they agreed with the proposed change to the frequency of visits; 13% indicated they neither agreed nor disagreed and 19% indicated they disagreed with the proposed change.
- On the proposed change in days of operation from Monday – Friday to Tuesday -Saturday, 69% indicated they agreed with the proposed change and 13% disagreed. Just over a quarter (26%) indicated they neither agreed nor disagreed.
- Just over three quarters (76%) of consultees indicated they agreed with the proposed change in extending the minimum stopping time; 16% indicated they neither agreed nor disagreed and 7% indicated they disagreed with the proposed change.
- New service can be delivered through five mobile vehicles which equates to an estimated annual saving to KCC of approx. £150,000 per annum
- More information available at www.kent.gov.uk/mobilelibraryservice