Proposals to transform the Library Service have now been agreed by the Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward, at his Decision Day on 28 July.
The decision was made following an extensive public consultation, which showed strong support for the County Council’s vision to adapt the Library Service to the changing needs of its customers.
The initial consultation took place earlier this year and set out a vision for the future delivery of library services in Hampshire, outlining the need for a reduction of £1.76 million from the library budget in line with savings that all County Council services must make. 21,200 people and organisations responded to the consultation online, by post and by telephone and we are grateful to each and every person who took the time to participate.
Over 70% of respondents agreed with the need for Hampshire’s Library Service to adapt to meet the changing demands placed on it. Proposals to deliver efficiencies, generate additional income and explore different ways of delivering library services all received high levels of support. We will be exploring these areas as we start to shape the service for the future.
These changes agreed will see eight libraries close, rather than ten, and there will be a reduction in staffed opening hours of the remaining libraries averaging 20%.
Information on the libraries affected, and the package of measures put in place to help them transition into independent community libraries, along with details of support for existing community libraries, can be found here.
A second public consultation will be launched on 3 August 2020, to confirm new opening times at each council-run library following the decision to reduce the staffed hours in each of the remaining 40 libraries.
We welcome approaches from groups or organisations wishing to extend the hours beyond those that are proposed to be staffed; and if you are a member of a group who would be interested in this, please contact us at County.Library.HQ@hants.gov.uk
The consultation will run for two weeks. The changes to hours will be largely completed by January 2021.