Somerset to slash mobile library service

Somerset to slash mobile library service

Somerset has approved plans to slash its mobile library service, cutting back on the number of stops in the rural county by more than half.

Just over 250 of the 574 stops will remain, with a further 50 stops merged. The council said the changes would help contribute towards £472,000 of savings in the next financial year.

Other changes see will see the council put an extra £10,000 into its library outreach service, while free wi-fi will be introduced at libraries, and computer charges scrapped. The council said that in its 10-week consultation, which had more than 6,000 comments, 80% of people supported more action to help people take advantage of digital services.

Councils in Southampton and Buckinghamshire are currently carrying out consultations on library cuts. 

Southampton is considering closing five libraries if community groups do not come forward to keep them open, as well as its mobile service. The council claim the measures will save £303,000 a year, with 18 job losses. A consultation is open until Friday.

Buckinghamshire County Council is looking to cut library hours at 11 libraries, by anything up to eight and a half hours a week.

Today (3rd March) is the day that Birmingham City Council will make a decision on its budget, which could see the £183m Library of Birmingham, which opened in 2013, lose 100 of its 188 staff, and see its opening hours cut by almost half, from 73 to 40 hours a week.