County’s 46 libraries to remain open as technology and volunteers set a path for the future
Every one of Hertfordshire’s 46 libraries has been saved from the possibility of closure as a county-wide strategy was approved yesterday.
The proposals for delivering Herts County Council’s innovative ‘Inspiring Libraries’ project were approved at the Customer Services, Performance and Libraries Cabinet Panel at County Hall.
The strategy sets out a vision of the library at the heart of the community, ambitious in its use of digital technology and delivered in partnership with local residents, organisations and communities.
All of the area’s libraries are to be kept open under the scheme.
To do this, it will reorganise all 46 of the services – including those in Dacorum – into three distinct tiers, and replace the current mobile library service with an expanded Home Library Service for people with disabilities and mobility problems and carers.
Almost 7,000 people respondended to a public consultation on the proposals – feedback from which was discussed ahead of the strategy’s approval by the cabinet panel yesterday.
The future strategy also sets out to increase the number of volunteers helping out in libraries, to increase opening hours in some cases and enable people to learn new skills, as well as investing in digital technology such as tablet computers and wifi.
Increased digitisation could also see a Library App and a ‘virtual librarian’ feature in some self-service or volunteer-led libraries.
The increase in income generation is also hoped to be achieved through the hiring of library space and sale of refreshments, which will be reinvested into library services.