Kent residents have their chance to comment on a draft three-year strategy for the county’s Libraries, Registration and Archives service during a 10-week public consultation which opened on Wednesday (21 November).
All of Kent’s libraries will continue to be maintained, although many could have their opening hours changed according to plans announced by the council.
The strategy also proposes a new approach to how the service promotes itself, by the development of a digital offer, continuing to develop its archive service building on the recent achievement of the National Archive Accreditation standard, and continuing to digitise its collections to make them more widely accessible.
Specialist services such as the mobile library, home library delivery, audio books by post, and residential home services will be brought together under one brand of Library Direct.
Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “We know that our library service is highly-valued by the public, but it is not immune from the financial pressures on all county council services.
“We have been working on a three-year strategy which is intended to protect the future of all our libraries and our archive and registration offers and, in fact, enhance some of these services.
“Being open at times when libraries are not well used is not a good use of taxpayers’ money,” said Mr Hill.
If the strategy is ratified by the council after the consultation, the result will be an overall reduction in opening hours across the library estate although some libraries will have their hours increased.
Kent residents will then have the opportunity to shape the pattern of opening hours at their local library to suit their communities.
During the 10-week consultation period, which runs until 29 January, drop-in events will be held at libraries across the county so people can talk to staff about the proposals.
The draft strategy, details of the drop-in events and the consultation questionnaire are all available online at kent.gov.uk/lrastrategy or from any Kent library.