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Library proposals to be considered

Susan Hampshire

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Derbyshire County Council Library Derbyshire Public Library Service Strategy Whaley Bridge Hadfield Hayfield

Proposals to change the way Derbyshire County Council’s libraries are run - including Whaley Bridge, Hadfield and Hayfield -  are due to be considered at a meeting this week (Thursday 20 Dec).

The county council unveiled its proposed Derbyshire Public Library Service Strategy `Libraries for Derbyshire’ in April and outlined its commitment to keeping libraries open as it launched a 12-week consultation to gather residents views.

More than 7,000 people had their say during the consultation which asked for views on proposed changes including transferring 20 libraries out of 45 to community management. Whaley Bridge, Hadfield and Hayfield are among the 20 libraries due to be put under community management.

Whaley Bridge Library

As well as an online and paper copy questionnaire, 49 drop-in sessions were held at libraries so people could talk about the plans face-to-face with staff, and 21 in-depth focus groups were held in all areas where the local library was proposed to be a community managed library (CML), as well as a focus group about the mobile service.

More people took part in the consultation than any single consultation held by the county council before.

All the views were taken in to consideration before the report was drafted.

A number of changes have been made to the draft proposals to reflect views given during the consultation.These include giving more support and assistance to libraries earmarked for community management.

Derbyshire County Council leader Barry Lewis said: “Since we launched the consultation in to the proposed changes I’ve made it very clear that the council is committed to the library service and no libraries will close on my watch. The response to the consultation was excellent and we received some interesting views and ideas.We listened to what people had to say and have changed a number of elements of the report to reflect what people told us. We believe these proposals are the best way forward to secure the future of our libraries.''

If the proposals are agreed at next Thursday’s meeting, a drive to recruit interested groups to run one or more CML will be launched in the new year.

More information on the Derbyshire Public Library Strategy `Libraries for Derbyshire’ is available by going to www.derbyshire.gov.uk/librariesforderbyshire