The proposals

Proposal 1

Reduce the running costs of medium to large libraries by sharing space, integrating services and, where appropriate, staff with other Council services and wider partners, creating a broader-based and Devon Centre model.

It is proposed that a community hub model – focused on the existing Devon Centres model – is rolled out to 18 communities across Devon and continued in Cullompton, Newton Abbot and Exeter.

Alongside a modern, high-quality library offer, the Devon Centres would offer a range of other community-based services, such as adult learning, services for adults with learning disabilities, work hubs, and services from the community and voluntary sector, the police, district councils and health. The range of services on offer in a particular Devon Centre would reflect the needs of that community.

Devon Centres would offer high-quality services for people of all ages to encourage a love of reading, support access to information and learning, and promote access to wider cultural activity – alongside a wider range of complementary community services. District councils, police, health services and the community and voluntary sector could be potential partners or stakeholders.

There are 15 existing library buildings which are potentially suitable for development as Devon Centres. The assessment criteria for suitability are:

  • size of the local population and catchment area of the existing library
  • proximity to other centres of population
  • use of the existing library
  • suitability of the building for locating other services.

Locations which have been assessed as suitable are:

DawlishSouth Molton

In addition, the Hayridge in Cullompton and the Passmore Edwards Centre in Newton Abbot already operate as Devon Centres and Exeter Library will open as a Devon Centre with a wider range of services from May 2014. The new Totnes Library in The Mansion, which opened in June 2013, will be considered as part of a wider review of how best to maximise use of this valued community facility.

These four existing Centres will be reviewed to identify any opportunities to accommodate other services as a way of maximising use and reducing running costs.

In addition to these 19 existing libraries, Bideford, Exmouth and Holsworthy have been identified as towns where there is likely to be sufficient need and demand for a Devon Centre. However the existing libraries could not easily accommodate additional services: in Bideford and Exmouth, this is because of lack of accessibility and in Holsworthy because of the size of the premises.

We are looking at potential schemes which could deliver the Devon Centre model in these towns. If it isn’t possible to find suitable services which could be located with the library we will need to look at alternatives such as reducing library opening hours and/or increasing the use of volunteers.

Staffing and running costs of the 22 libraries proposed to become Devon Centres would reduce by 10-25%.

Give us your feedback on the proposals.