Work collaboratively with rural communities to explore alternatives to the mobile library service which are more affordable for the future but which still reaches those in rural areas who cannot easily access a physical library.
We currently serve 354 communities through 455 stops by four mobile library vehicles. The service was reviewed in 2010/11 when service delivery criteria were introduced for the first time. These are:
In the past 12 months we have again reviewed the service and as a result have:
Over 1,500 mobile library users responded to the 2013 consultation and it is clear that the service is highly valued. However, it’s an expensive and inefficient way to deliver services. In 2011/12 it cost £6.24 per visit compared to an average of £3.84 for static libraries. Vehicles tend to spend an average of 40% of their time on the road rather than serving customers.
Other models have been introduced in some communities. In Broadhempston a Library Link Collection has been set up in the community shop and Post Office. Volunteers look after the collection, ensuring the stock is swapped on a regular basis with the nearest ‘link’ library and reserving items for customers online and collecting them from the link library.
We propose to work with rural communities to identify alternatives to the mobile library service which are more efficient, but which still enable those in rural areas to have access to a library service. A mix of alternatives could include:
Find out more in the Mobile libraries information pack.