Review of library services in Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire County Council needs to find £115m savings over the next four years predominantly to meet social care costs in the county. The Library and Information Service must share in this financial challenge and seek to reduce costs to the tax payer.

The low cost per visit compared to other library services demonstrates that this cannot be achieved by further efficiencies alone, and requires a more fundamental reshaping of the service to ensure it is fit for the future.

The review of the library service has comprehensively examined the current Northamptonshire Library and Information Service as it operates over its current 36 static and one mobile site against the four measures of accessibility, quality, availability and sustainability in line with the review approach recommended by the National Libraries Taskforce.

As part of the review, we have examined key statistics and trends within the service and have set out options about how a future library service may be shaped. The consultation has allowed us to test these proposals against the common design principles of library services and consider the impact of the proposals on the residents of Northamptonshire. The consultation and its outcomes will play a significant part in informing the new library strategy 2018-2022.

The recommendations for the future of the library service will be considered at Cabinet on 13th February and then by Full Council as part of the budget-setting process on 22nd February.

What might change?

We have consulted upon three options for the future of the Library and Information Service. The service also delivers universal children’s centres services as part of the offer. There are currently 21 Libraries that are designated as Children’s Centres.

Option 1

  • Develop community-managed library model to be offered to all other current library communities.
  • Retain countywide digital, information and business offer.
  • Retain 15 libraries and further develop as community hubs – 8 large libraries, 7 medium libraries.
  • Investigate potential future library service provision to additional location in Corby.
  • Extend Library to You to replace Mobile Library.
  • The mobile library would be withdrawn from service.
  • The remaining libraries would be closed, including the universal Children's Centres services delivered in those libraries.

Expressions of interest from community groups, organisations or businesses wishing to establish a community-managed library have been invited. These community-managed libraries would sit outside of the statutory library service offered by the Council.

For more information about community managed libraries, please visit the community managed libraries information page.

Option 2

  • Retain countywide digital, information and business offer.
  • Retain 15 libraries and further develop as community hubs – 8 large libraries, 7 medium libraries.
  • Investigate potential future library service provision to additional location in Corby.
  • Extend Library to You to replace Mobile Library.
  • The mobile library would be withdrawn from service.
  • The remaining libraries would be closed, including the universal Children's Centres services delivered in those libraries.

Option 3

  • Retain countywide digital, information and business offer.
  • Retain 8 libraries and further develop as community hubs.
  • Extend Library to You to replace Mobile Library.
  • The mobile library would be withdrawn from service.
  • The remaining libraries would be closed, including the universal Children's Centres services delivered in those libraries.

In all three options, libraries with Children’s Centre designation are proposed for closure. Please see below for the supporting information which gives more details on the proposals.

Cabinet Paper, EqIA and Library fact sheets

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