A Library Service for the FutureHampshire County Council is seeking residents’ views on how Hampshire’s Library Service can be transformed and modernised to meet the changing needs of people in the 21st century.

At his Decision Day on 30 October, the County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Andrew Gibson approved plans for a public consultation on the draft Library Strategy which looks to develop a sustainable and vibrant Library Service for people who live, work and study in Hampshire.

Commenting, Councillor Gibson said: “Since libraries first opened, there have been significant changes in the way people access and read books – and they are now using libraries very differently. It is clear that what we need is a sharp focus for this important Service to ensure it is properly positioned to meet the evolving needs of the community it serves. There are, without doubt, challenges ahead but we are committed to running a modern and sustainable Library Service that is able to change with the times.

“I would emphasise that the proposals within the Library Strategy have been informed by a considerable amount of detailed information and analysis of various aspects of the Library Service, together with the outcomes from a focussed market research exercise. It is important we now hear the views of residents on our proposals.”

Hampshire runs one of the largest library services in England with 48 libraries, an increasingly busy online service, as well as mobile and home library services.

The draft Strategy proposes a number of changes, backed by a four year investment programme, to make libraries modern and vibrant, developing staff and volunteers, installing self-service technology in all libraries, and improving public access to the latest technology. In addition, the Strategy includes suggestions for how the Library Service can be made more sustainable – through savings and investments.

Consultation will begin on Monday 2 November. The consultation questionnaire will be available online , on the County Council’s webpages, with printed copies available in all Hampshire libraries, and in mobile library vehicles. The closing date for feedback is Saturday 16 January 2016.

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