Last Day To Have Your Say On Libraries

30 September 2011, 05:00

It's the last day to have your say on the future of libraries in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire County Council originally planned to close more than half of their libraries to save money - but now say they could ALL stay open with the help of volunteers.

The proposal

The proposal to be put forward is that the council will guarantee all 43 libraries will continue to receive support in the form of free access to a suitable building, to book stock; to the library stock management system and the expertise of county council employed library staff. 

22 of those libraries would remain fully staffed by county council employed library staff as at present. There would be use of volunteers in other libraries.

Councillor Keith Mitchell, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council said: "Let me be clear, we enter this consultation from a starting point of keeping all 43 libraries open despite the fact that there is less money to spend. Local communities can help us to achieve that outcome."

"I'm looking ahead to beginning positive discussions with communities on the way forward. We've moved forward enormously since late 2010 and our initial thoughts on how savings in libraries could be achieved. Essentially, we are meeting communities half-way by acknowledging feedback we have received against a context that we still need to make financial savings."

How would it affect your service?

The consultation document contains reference to a key 'needs-analysis' undertaken by the council based on where people live, work, study and shop in Oxfordshire. Travel and transport accessibility (including for vulnerable groups) and existing demand from current users has also been taken in to consideration.

Based on this analysis, the following 22 libraries make up those that would meet the council's statutory requirement to provide a comprehensive and efficient network  of libraries and would remain fully staffed.

Abingdon, Banbury, Berinsfield, Bicester, Blackbird Leys, Botley, Carterton, Chipping Norton, Cowley, Didcot, Eynsham, Headington, Henley, Kidlington, Littlemore, Neithrop,Oxford Central, Summertown, Thame, Wallingford, Wantage, Witney.

The council would welcome volunteers to supplement these fully staffed libraries - potentially allowing libraries to extend their opening hours.

In addition the county council would like to provide significant levels of staffing to a further five libraries - with a small element of volunteering planned. These libraries are Chinnor, Faringdon, Grove, Wheatley and Woodstock.

There would also be a positive future for the county's 16 other libraries - as a result of free access to a suitable building, to the county's book stock and to the library stock management system.

The staffing emphasis in these libraries would shift from county council staff to volunteers in a phased way over a three year period - however support from county council employed operational and professional librarians would continue.

These libraries would be Adderbury, Bampton, Benson, Burford, Charlbury, Deddington, Goring, Hook Norton, Kennington, North Leigh, Old Marston, Sonning Common, Stonesfield, Watlington, Woodcote and Wychwood.

The council won't be making a final decision until the end of the year with any change being phased in over a three-year period.

Have your say

Completing the online feedback form by clicking here