While library usage is down across the country, Wokingham Borough’s libraries are on the bestseller list – with library usage increasing by nearly 6,000 from 2013/14 to 2014/15 and on the up again this year – and Wokingham Borough Council is determined to enhance them even further.
In order to achieve this, the council’s decision-making executive on January 28 approved a public consultation on the draft library offer – which includes proposals to open the borough’s main libraries for longer by introducing some self-service facilities. The consultation will end on March 25 and all comments will be considered before the council decides later in the year on whether to put the library offer into action.
Public engagement events:
- Twyford Waitrose: From 10am to 2pm on Saturday 20 February
- Wokingham Market: From 10am to 2pm on Saturday 27 February
- Lower Earley ASDA: From 10am to 2pm on Saturday 5 March
- Woodley Market: From 10am to 2pm on Saturday 12 March
- FBC Centre, Gorse ride, Finchampstead: From 10am to 2pm on Saturday 19 March
As part of the consultation, we will also be engaging directly with a range of groups representing residents with specific needs such as vulnerable adults, children and young people and older residents, in order to ensure their views and experiences are fully understood.
Proposed library model
The offer envisages a system of ‘hub’ or main libraries (at Woodley, Lower Earley and Wokingham) and smaller ‘spoke’ libraries elsewhere. Libraries offering self-service would be staffed for some core hours, but offer extended opening hours with self-service. This is the council’s ‘preferred option’ for providing library services; however the consultation will seek views on this and on alternative possibilities.
The library offer also aims to establish general principles for the running of the borough’s libraries. In particular focusing on:
- Accessing library services
- Library stock
- Visiting and using library buildings
- Income Generation
- Supporting the wider Wokingham Borough Council vision
Visit the consultation webpage to give your comments on the draft library offer from Monday 1 February 1 to Friday 25 March.
Executive member for resident services Cllr Pauline Jorgensen said: “Our libraries are a great success story; we are bucking the national trend by increasing usage and are now considering ways to improve the service even more. This consultation is an opportunity for us to get a clear understanding of how people view our libraries and to gather comments on some specific ideas we have for improving the service. Libraries are extremely important to us and we are hoping to hear from a lot of people during the consultation in order to get a good range of views on the service.”