Changes to the way Lancashire County Council’s mobile library service will be designed in future have been agreed following a public consultation.
Members of the council’s Cabinet today (Thursday 5 September) voted to accept a new ten point criteria to plan how the service will be run in the future.
Amongst the changes will be a standardised three week visit frequency, minimum stop times of 15 minutes, and discontinuing any stop that hasn’t been used for six months.
Current locations would continue to be visited under the criteria and parish councils who do not benefit from a visit will be asked if they want a stop organised.
Mobile library routes would be maintained throughout the rest of each year whenever possible. Currently mobile libraries do not operate when each driver is on leave, which can be up to four weeks per year, as well as not operating between December 24 and January 1 (inclusive) each year. Under the new arrangement, the drivers’ leave will be covered as much as possible so that the routes will continue to operate. The mobile library will still not operate between December 24 and January 1.
A vehicle would remain in reserve to ensure cover was available, e.g. in cases of routine maintenance.
Feedback about the service was received during an eight-week consultation on the future of the service running from Monday 4 March until Sunday 28 April 2019.
A further consultation will take place on any planned future routes before they are implemented in 2020.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We know how important the mobile service is as it enables many Lancashire residents to access the library and information service where they live.
“The mobile libraries reach some of the most remote parts of the county, and are particularly important for people who would find it difficult to travel to their nearest library.
“For some people with mobility problems this can literally be a door to door service.
“We received some very useful feedback during this consultation. We are very aware that people in local areas have detailed knowledge about what would work best for them, and we’ve responded to this as much as we possibly can.
“I would like to thank everyone who completed the questionnaire and shared their views with us.”
The vehicles carry a wide range of books to suit all tastes. Books can also be ordered, just the same as in a static library. A variety of audio books and CD’s are also available.
They are fully accessible for people with mobility problems and disabilities. Each vehicle is fitted with low rise stairs and a passenger lift for easy access so that customers can board to select their own books. An induction loop system is also available for people with hearing impairments.