Changes have been agreed to the way Lancashire County Council’s mobile library service will be run in future.
Members of the council’s Cabinet today (Thursday 6 February) voted to approve:
• the introduction of revised mobile library routes from 1 June 2020
• the use of ‘trial routes’ to offer mobile library stops to communities without a static library and no existing mobile library stop.
This follows on from a previous decision of the council’s Cabinet in September 2019 to accept a new ten-point criteria to plan the future running of the service.
The changes to the routes means that there will be a standardised three-week visit frequency, a minimum stop time of 15 minutes whenever possible, and discontinuing any stop that hasn’t been used for six months.
Existing locations will continue to be visited under these criteria, and parish councils who do not benefit from a visit will be asked if they want a stop organised in their locality.
Currently mobile libraries do not operate when each driver is on leave, which can be up to four weeks per 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 will remain in reserve to ensure cover is available, for example, in cases of routine maintenance.
Feedback about the service was received during an eight-week consultation on the future of the service, which ran from Monday 4 March to Sunday 28 April 2019.
The adjustments to the mobile library routes also mean that the time saved can be used for ‘trial routes’, enabling new stops to be tried. Any new stops will be reviewed after six months to make sure that they are being used, and are in the right location.
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.
“We’ve reviewed how we provide this service using the useful feedback we received during the 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.
“We want to make sure that we get this right, and trialling different stops across the county over a period of time will give us the chance to expand the mobile library service in our more rural communities.”
The vehicles carry a wide range of books to suit all tastes. Books can also be ordered, just the same as in a 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.