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Borough of Poole agrees changes to Mobile Library service

Borough of Poole’s Cabinet last night agreed to replace the Mobile Library Service with the new community libraries that are now in place and proving a popular alternative. 

Although costing local taxpayers £50,000 per year, the Mobile Library in Poole is being used less and less, with 266 users in the past year compared to 297 in the previous year and eight out of the 11 mobile library stops averaging six visitors or less during the typical 50 minute site visit.

Before any changes to the service were considered, widespread public consultation was carried out with both users and non-users of the Mobile Library to ensure the needs of residents could continue to be met. The results were used to plan the provision of library services for the future, which include new small community-run libraries in outlying locations, run by residents and volunteers in the heart of the community, with a supply of books, training, advice and support from Poole Libraries. Borough of Poole library service has fully supported the dynamic concept of community libraries from the outset, and will continue to work to further develop new and existing sites. 

In addition, the Home Library Service delivered by the Royal Voluntary Service has expanded to support customers in sheltered housing and residential homes who currently use the Mobile Library. This bespoke service delivers books and other resources, and will continue and expand as the needs of users change. 

A downloadable audio book service and an e-book service, both of which are free to use and do not require a visit to either a static or mobile library, are also already available, alongside comprehensive information and reference services available to library members through the library web pages. 

Cllr Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Economy, Leisure and Culture, Borough of Poole, said: “I welcome the decision by Cabinet to progress the work to reshape our community library services and withdraw the mobile library vehicle. We know people value the library services very highly and there has been a huge amount of work and good will between our library staff and community groups in setting up alternative provision. The community libraries mean local residents have a greater offer in terms of times that a library service is available to them and we hope this type of provision grows into other local communities.”

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