People can have their say about plans to modernise Wolverhampton's library service and further improve provision in the City by taking part in consultation events being held later this month.
The City of Wolverhampton Council's draft Libraries Strategy for 2017-27 seeks to maintain Wolverhampton’s 16-strong network of libraries while improving the services they offer to people who live, work, visit or study in Wolverhampton.
It was developed following engagement with more than 500 people including library users, staff and volunteers, community groups and residents.
The 10-year strategy features a number of specific proposals including:
maintaining provision of 16 branch libraries, and seeking ways of making improvements to them all
modernising Central Library, improving the environment in response to feedback from customers, and exploring the creation of a wider City Learning Quarter with the City of Wolverhampton College and Adult Education Wolverhampton
reviewing the location of Bilston Library to improve accessibility.
A consultation is currently underway, and people can have their say by completing a short survey online at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/mylibraryservice or by attending one of the public events. They will be held at:
Bilston Library, Mount Pleasant, Wednesday 22 March, at 6pm
Bantock House Museum, Finchfield Road, Thursday 23 March, at 6pm
Wednesfield Library, Well Lane, Saturday 25 March, at 10am.
To book a place on one of these sessions, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/mylibraryservice, call 01902 552025 or ask at your local library.
Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “We know that our libraries are highly valued by local residents, and over the last few months we have been developing ideas to further improve the service we offer in Wolverhampton.
“This 10-year strategy is designed to meet changing demands from library customers. For instance, we know that, while the number of book loans is falling, more and more people are coming into our libraries to use PCs and access the internet, to develop their skills and apply for jobs, to attend events and activities or to access support services.
“We believe this strategy will ensure our 16-strong library network is fit for purpose and able to meet the needs of customers, both now and in the future. We want to hear what people think of our plans, so please either come along to one of the public events later this month or have your say online."
The strategy seeks to ensure that Wolverhampton’s libraries are vibrant, welcoming and safe places to visit, study and enjoy and that, wherever possible, libraries are co-located with other services to improve accessibility and convenience for customers.
It also envisages that libraries will host an increasing number of events which support reading and literacy, help people develop their skills and employability and improve their health and wellbeing.
At the same time, self-service facilities will be improved, enabling libraries to be open for longer, there will be more opportunities for people to volunteer within their local library, increased investment in digital technology like ebooks and talking books and extra income generating opportunities, such as room hire.
The strategy for 2017-27, along with full details of the consultation, can be seen at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/mylibraryservice. Hard copies of the strategy and survey are available by calling 01902 552025 or emailing email@example.com.
The consultation continues until Sunday 21 May, 2017. All feedback received will be analysed and help shape the final libraries strategy, which is due to be considered by councillors in July.