Plans for a more efficient mobile library service are given the go ahead

CHANGES to mobile library services which will help save the taxpayer more than £130,000 a year have been approved by East Sussex County Council.

A total of 90 stops made by the mobile library will remain unaffected, while 16 stops will be combined. Visits to 21 care home and sheltered housing settings will be replaced by existing alternative service. Watch our video with Councillor Chris Dowling, lead member for community services.

Visits to local communities will also change from a fortnightly rota to a three weekly schedule.
The decision will reduce the £259,600 annual budget for the service by £131,600 while residents will still have regular access to library services within their community.

“Making savings is not always about cutting services, but making them more efficient,” said Cllr Chris Dowling, lead member for community services. “In the case of the mobile library service, we have ensured that every resident that relies on the service still has access in one way or another.

“We will continue to visit 90 of the 127 stops we currently serve, while promoting our alternatives to care home and sheltered housing to ensure that library services are available to all those who rely on them.”

The county council will combine stops in 16 communities along the mobile library route, where there are two stops a mile or less apart. Initial consultation suggested 17 could be combined, but Cripps Corner is to retain its stop after concerns were raised about the ability for residents to safely reach the nearest alternative, which is a mile away.

Of the 16 to be combined, 10 will be changed towards the end of the year while work to identify a suitable alternative location will continue in the remaining six communities.

Mobile library visits to 21 sheltered housing units and care settings will be replaced by the existing Care Home Service and Home Library Service.

These services offer either free bulk loans of books and audio books exchanged regularly, or a volunteer home delivery of library items.

The Home Library Service is free and can be used by residents who cannot easily use a library due to disability or frailty, or are caring for someone who cannot be left. Volunteers will deliver books, books on tape or CD, music CDs and DVDs.

The changes to the services would also see the mobile office replaced by visits by tutors to settings in local communities where requested, rather than on a rota basis.

“These changes are the result of a comprehensive review of our mobile services and extensive public consultation,” Cllr Dowling added. “We believe these changes will have minimal impact of residents’ access to our wonderful library services.”