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Borough of Poole Cabinet agrees changes to mobile library service

Borough of Poole’s Cabinet has agreed to move ahead with a decision to withdraw the mobile library service, whilst continuing to support new community libraries that are now in place and proving a popular alternative. 

Originally agreed by Cabinet in July 2015, the proposals were recently subject to additional consideration by the Council’s Call-In Overview & Scrutiny Committee. 
A picture of Poole's Mobile Library

Committee members agreed unanimously to support the proposal, a decision which was finalised at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. The mobile library vehicle will now be withdrawn towards the end of this year. 

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.

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, and all users provided with information on the alternative services available. These services 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 fact, following the withdrawal of the mobile library service, the vehicle will be relocated to a permanent home at Talbot Primary School, providing a community library for residents in the Wallisdown area.

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. Both the Call-In Committee and Cabinet were satisfied that the community libraries provide customers with longer opening hours and better access than previously, as well as increased opportunity for socialisation. We will now be building on the huge amount of work already undertaken by our library staff and community groups to expand the community libraries to other areas in Poole.”

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