KCC is moving ahead with plans to transform and modernise the Libraries, Registration and Archives service, following a 12-week public consultation on a proposal to transfer the service to a charitable trust.
The council believes that the trust model is the best way to preserve and update the service, which is much valued by the public.
However, although KCC has decided to progress the preparations for the trust proposal, the implementation will wait for new primary legislation to enable the transfer of the registration service alongside libraries and archives.
Kent is the only authority in the country to have fully integrated its libraries, archives and registration services.
KCC will be urging the General Register Office to bring forward the necessary legislation, but in the meantime the council will transform the in-house service.
This includes considering some of the revenue-generating proposals, such as promoting greater use of library facilities and a move to community libraries in areas where there is an appetite for this change.
The consultation, which ran from 12 January to 8 April, produced 2,143 responses – 1,969 from individuals, 30 from public sector partners including parish councils, and 59 from voluntary and community groups.
The responses were evenly balanced. The detailed results are contained in a report to a Cabinet Committee next Wednesday (20th), and can be found online here.
Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet member for Community Services, said: “We are grateful to all the users of our services who took part in this very thorough consultation.
“It shows the commitment of our customers, and our over-riding aim is to continue to provide them with an excellent service.
“We consider that moving to a trust model is the best way to preserve the current level of service. In the meantime we intend to modernise the service, so it can continue to meet the needs of the users.
“This includes finding ways to maximise the use of our library buildings, making greater use of new technology and exploring other ways to generate extra income.
“In particular we would like to see more of our libraries reconnecting with our communities, drawing in groups, individuals and other services who are not currently using the facilities.”