Review of library services in Northamptonshire

In October 2017 a public consultation was held around three proposals for the future of Northamptonshire Libraries. Details of this consultation are available on our past consultations webpage.

Following a Judicial Review in August 2018, the decision to keep 15 libraries under Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) control and offer the other 21 to community groups to be run as independent libraries was quashed. In September 2018, the new Chief Executive of NCC conducted a new review of the library service, to make sure that NCC delivers its statutory duty to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” library service, whilst achieving the necessary savings for the Council by identifying opportunities to work with community groups to co-produce community managed libraries where possible.

Following meetings with community groups, parishes, towns and Borough and District councils, individual proposals have been identified for nearly every library within the county. We are now consulting on these proposals.

Background

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 examined key statistics and trends within the service and 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.

What were the options?

We 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.

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 were proposed for closure.

Library factsheets

Factsheets for all 36 libraries:

Cabinet Papers and Equality Impact Assessments