People will soon be asked to give their feedback to help shape the future of Barnsley’s library services.
Barnsley Council is set to start a review of the borough’s library services, with the long term aim of creating a more modern, dynamic, efficient and adaptable service that better meets the needs of current and future users.
The first stage of the review is a six week period of engagement to understand the needs of local people living in Barnsley. The aim is to find out how people use libraries and what will be important to them in the future. The council also wants to understand from people who don’t use libraries what would make them more likely to visit.
Proposals to start the six week engagement period will be seen by Barnsley Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 5 October, with a view to beginning to gather people’s views during October and November.
The council has a statutory responsibility to provide a comprehensive and effective library service for local people, but in the context of changing demands, advancing technology and reducing budgets, there is a need for change in coming years.
Cllr Jenny Platts, Cabinet Spokesperson for Communities, said: “Over the past few years, there have been significant changes in the way people access libraries and read books. It’s really important that Barnsley’s library service evolves to meet these changing needs, whilst retaining our traditional services.
“People can be reassured that this is the beginning of a long, planned process to modernise our service and we’ll keep people informed as we go through the process. We’re planning ahead for coming years so any changes would be likely to come into effect from 2019 onwards.”
Potential ideas for change could be more services available online, more flexible opening hours using electronic access technology, integrating libraries with other services and community groups helping to run local libraries.
Once Cabinet have approved the engagement process, a survey will be available online and in local libraries. There will be events in every library where residents can come along to find out more and give their views. The council can then look at the range of feedback and develop proposals based on this. These would be shared in another period of public consultation.
The development of the new central library will go ahead as planned, leading the way for the future of Barnsley’s libraries. No budget has been taken from libraries across the borough to fund the new library development.
More information will be released when the survey is available and dates for sessions in libraries are confirmed.