Mobile library cuts approved by cabinet

First published in News

CABINET members approved a cut in the council’s mobile library service on Monday (April 7).

Pembrokeshire County Council currently operates three mobile library vehicles across the county.

This will be replaced by one vehicle visiting fewer stops in communities “some distance” from libraries. The service will also change from being every three weeks to every four weeks

But the new service will provide home deliveries to “the most vulnerable”.

Last December, cabinet approved a review into the service which cost £101,000 to run in 2013/14. It is estimated that the changes will result in savings of about two thirds.

Nearly half (47%) of the 663 consultation respondents said they “strongly disagreed” with the proposed changes. A further 18% “disagreed”, while seven per cent “strongly agreed” and a further 14% “agreed”.

Cabinet member for culture Councillor Elwyn Morse said: “The current mobile fleet stops at 181 locations throughout the county and in some cases serves just one user.

“Our original proposal was to replace our three mobile vehicles with a criteria-led library service, however nearly half of the respondents strongly disagreed with this.

“As a result, we have decided to retain a more focused mobile library service to attend to around 50 stops, as well as introduce an important bespoke service for some of our most vulnerable and housebound customers.

“We are glad to have received the views of so many library users, and we hope the new proposals will meet their needs as well as create a more efficient service.”

In December members were told the service faced a number of issues, including an old fleet of vehicles prone to regular breakdowns, and a narrow service without any ICT or wider information, used by a small number of people – about 1% of the Pembrokeshire population.

Council leader Cllr Jamie Adams called the move “a service change opportunity”.

“I think it’s to the credit of the service that we are still able to ensure that those who have genuine difficulty in accessing our services are provided for,” he added.

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