Is there a need for libraries anymore?

Libraries remain a highly valued resource in their local communities. In 2012/13 more than 138,000 people actively used a Devon library to borrow books or other items, more than 10,000 children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge and 450 reading groups were supported. Many more people visited the library to use the internet and public-access computer facilities, Wi-Fi and for other purposes, such as to attend events and read newspapers.

In Devon, we have worked hard in the past three years to offer the range of support that many people in communities increasingly need, such as help in looking for work, support for people of all ages in developing their literacy skills and encouraging a love of reading in children and young people. Increasingly, libraries in Devon, as elsewhere, have become social and community hubs, offering a broader range of services and activities.

The proposals recognise that library use is changing, that technology offers the potential for new ways of offering services and that libraries have broader potential to support local communities. Our intention is to find sustainable ways to make sure that communities still have access to library services that support people to access high-quality information and engage effectively with government online. We also want our library services to stimulate a love of reading, promote positive health and wellbeing and provide a safe, welcoming space within communities.