Library under threat as council reveals further savings need to be made

January 31 2016

CHIPPING Sodbury library is at risk of closing as council leaders consider how to make big savings.

Chipping Sodbury Library

CHIPPING Sodbury library is at risk of closing as council leaders consider how to make big savings.
South Gloucestershire Council’s mobile library could also go as the authority looks to axe £640,000 from the library service’s budget.
Public consultation on money saving options will start on February 22.
But the mobile library and the Chipping Sodbury service are costly, with the mobile service the most expensive library per user in the district.
It costs £80,000 a year to run and was used by 804 people in the last 12 months, meaning a rate per member of just under £100 a year – double the average.
As 87 per cent of those users also visit a static library, it leaves just 101 people who only use the mobile service, at a cost of £792 each.
The council said if the mobile was withdrawn, vulnerable residents would be able to get books instead through the home visit service that is provided to the elderly and housebound.
Chipping Sodbury library’s annual running costs are £42,000 and it has 1,236 members, with a cost per member of just under £34. But 1,042 also use other libraries, leaving 194 unique members at a rate of £216 each.
The council report said the Chipping Sodbury facility was also within a mile of Yate library, which is one of the newest and busiest in the district.
To achieve its savings, South Gloucestershire is also considering reducing some library opening hours. But it said if local groups and volunteers got involved in running elements of the service, that could avoid many cuts.
Heather Goddard, chairwoman of the council’s communities committee, said libraries and the services they offered were valued, extending far beyond borrowing books.
But to preserve them sustainably, the council had to look at changing the way it provided the service.
She said: “The proposals in the consultation are really a starting point. We fully expect that we will find common cause with residents, community groups and our colleagues in town and parish councils in looking for ways we can continue to provide library services together.”
Meanwhile, the committee is also looking at establishing community hubs, where libraries, one-stop-shops and potentially other public sector organisations could be based under one roof. That could include having a hub in Yate library.