Library consultation remains an open book
Published Wednesday 15th August 12
People still have the chance to have their say on the way library and information services are delivered across Rotherham in the future.
Hundreds of people have attended the series of drop-in consultation sessions which have been run over recent weeks to give their views on the proposals. Many others have also taken part online or through other meetings and events with specific interest groups.
However, even though the sessions have now ended, there is still a chance for people to give their views either online or at their local library with the consultation not finishing until the end of August.
The proposals for the future of the service have been published following an "assessment of need" - a thorough review of how Rotherham people, both adults and children, access the libraries in their local community and elsewhere in the borough; what library users and non-users think of the library and information service, and how those services are managed by the Council.
The proposals would see a continuation of Rotherham Borough Council's ambitious programme of library service modernisation, which has included the introduction of convenient self-service; investment in mobile libraries and the opening of six new library buildings in six years since 2007.
The Council will also continue its commitment to providing a library within two miles of every resident, with a range of opening hours to suit local need, and managed within the resources earmarked for the service within the council's reduced overall budget.
As a result of the assessment, current opening times will be varied to reflect the extent and ways in which library buildings are currently used, and Rotherham's two least-used library buildings are put forward for closure, along with alternative ways of meeting the needs of their local community.
Under the proposed changes, weekly opening hours would increase in five of Rotherham's most-used libraries - Riverside House in the town centre (52.5 to 55 hours); Aston (44.5 to 49 hours); Mowbray Gardens (32 to 40); Wath (46 to 49) and Rawmarsh (32 to 46.5 on a temporary basis, pending a further review of usage at the library, which only opened to the public in its new location in May 2012).
Minor changes will be made at Brinsworth, Dinnington and Thurcroft libraries, where opening hours will reduce by just 30 minutes each week. More significant reductions will be made in Greasbrough (40 to 32 hours each week), Kiveton Park (35.5 to 32), Maltby (50 to 40), Swinton (44 to 40) and Wickersley (45 to 40).
Rotherham's two least-used library buildings, Kimberworth and Kimberworth Park, each with just over 600 active borrowers, are proposed for closure, with a recommendation that additional mobile library services are provided.
Subject to the outcomes of the consultation, the proposed changes could result in efficiency savings of around £500,000. Other recommendations include reducing the amount of money spent on materials (from £1.98 to £1.52 per head of population); savings on staff costs by changing the way in which services are delivered, and improved use of new technology.
Information about the proposals is available at all local libraries where people can also complete consultation response forms. In addition, the consultation documents and online forms are available online on the Rotherham Libraries homepage.