Shropshire Council is consulting on the future of its library services – I fear for mobile library services

Shropshire Council’s Library services were reviewed two years ago. The conclusion of that review was that three tiers of library would be established: Tier 1 Library Hubs in Shrewsbury and larger market towns, including Ludlow; Tier 2 Community Libraries in the smaller market towns such as Church Stretton; and Tier 3 Community Libraries in smaller market towns such as Craven Arms. Rural areas would be served by mobile libraries with 281 stops in all.

The new library strategy was to last for five years. But just two years into its implementation, Shropshire Council has announced another review. The council does not give a straightforward reason for the review. Rather, it says “we identified the need for a refreshed strategy that offers a robust vision with clear priorities for the library service of the future.” Given how stretched staff are within the council, and how stretched its finances are, it is inevitable that people are wondering whether the review presages another round of cuts. Otherwise why allocate so much staff time?

The council says it is committed to retaining the three tier library structure. But it hasn’t said it is committed to keeping mobile libraries. There will be a drop in session in Ludlow Library from 10am to 3pm next Wednesday, 9 October.

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Shropshire Council’s customer service hours could be cut by a quarter in Ludlow

Shropshire Council is planning cuts of 25% to the opening hours of the customer service desks in Ludlow Library. The cuts, from 40 to 30 hours a week, were revealed in a consultation published this morning. The proposals follow a 60% drop in the numbers of people obtaining advice face to face over the last five years.

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Ludlow Library opening hours cuts are wrong – it should remain open on Saturday afternoons

Shropshire Council has published the results of its Library opening hours review.

The library will close on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, but get an extra hour on Monday evenings.

I am very disappointed that the cuts to opening hours at Ludlow Library have been largely confirmed. I am quite angry that the library will be closed on Saturday afternoons. This is a busy time for the library. There a lot of people who use its facilities then who have been out at work all week.

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Ludlow Library should remain open on Saturday afternoons

Shropshire Council has been consulting on reducing library hours across the county. In Ludlow, it wants to close the library on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. I think this consultation is too soon. We need to sort out the future of the library as a community and service hub first. I also believe that the library should remain open on Saturday afternoons.

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Ludlow Library and council customer service opening hours to be cut – we are entering dangerous territory (updated)

Updated 25 May 2016

The consultation is now live online.

https://new.shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/library-opening-times-review/

The consultation documents show that a reduction in hours at Ludlow Library will save £4,800 a year. A separate consultation is planned for the reduction in hours for Shropshire Council’s customer services at the library.

Main article 24 May 2016

Shropshire Council has announced that it plans to cut the opening hours for Ludlow Library. It will shortly launch a consultation on the plans. This was due to start yesterday but has been delayed. I’ll provide a link to the consultation as soon as I have it.

If the cuts go through, it is expected that Ludlow Library would open from 9.30am to 5pm, Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, and Friday. The library would be closed on Thursday, as at present. It would no longer open on Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons. This is a reduction of seven hours a week. Shropshire Council’s customer services desk in the library will open for eight fewer hours each week.

We are entering dangerous territory. Once the opening hours for libraries and other public services are cut back, they are rarely restored. When people get used to facilities being closed a lot of the time, they use them less.

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