Hertfordshire signals next stage off libraries plans

Councillors in Hertfordshire have given the green light to the new priorities for the region’s libraries for 2018 - 2021, continuing the work of the original 2014 strategy.

‘Inspiring Libraries – the next phase’ outlines plans to develop its online offering, improve and extend access to libraries – through swipe card access and by using volunteers to extend opening times - and complete our roll-out of community libraries.

The council could also pursue plan to deliver the library service in a different way, copying contrasting schemes already in place in Suffolk, Nottinghamshire and Devon. The three regions supply library services based on a ‘public service mutual’ model, where an independent organisation is created to deliver library services on behalf of the council.

Since 2014, Hertfordshire County Council has made savings totalling more than £2 million, improved several library buildings and introducing five volunteer-partnered community libraries across the county.

Terry Douris, cabinet member for Libraries, said: “When we launched the original strategy our aim was to create a modern library service at the very heart of local communities. We’ve made good progress over the past three years, but there’s still more work to do. The financial challenges are still significant, which is the why we are considering different options to help us meet our £500,000 savings target and we will continue to keep library users up to date, as our plans develop over the coming months.”

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