25th Oct, 2016

Library routes axed to balance books

Evesham Editorial 8th Jan, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

DOZENS of mobile library services across the Vale have been axed as part of cost-cutting measures by county council chiefs.

More than 40 of the mobile library routes located around Evesham, Pershore and surrounding villages were last year placed under threat by cash-strapped Worcestershire County Council which is looking to make significant savings.

Council chiefs have now approved the axe which will save the authority £100,000 a year towards the £20million to £25million it needs to make annually over the next four years.

Under the cuts, every stop within three miles of a main library has been removed meaning the service will no longer visit Pinvin, Wyre Piddle, Cropthorne, Bishampton, Evesham, Offenham and Badsey from February 1.

Other areas will also see a more limited service with reduced stopping times such as Fladbury, The Lenches, Sedgeberrow, Bretforton and Honeybourne.

A total of 993 people use the mobile library service ever year across Worcestershire.

But council chiefs say over the last ten years visits have dropped by 40 per cent, loans are down 35 per cent and the cost to the authority is now £3.11 per visit compared to £1.97 for every visit to an actual library branch.

The announcement of the axe of the service follows a consultation period between August and October last year when plans to drop routes were first announced.

Coun Lucy Hodgson, responsible for localism and communities, said they were looking at alternative measures for library at home users such as asking volunteers to deliver books to their home.

In other cases help will be provided to visit a library or to download e-books while in some instances the council will pay for a subscription to the RNIB Talking Book Service.

“We have had an extremely high response rate to the consultation and taken every care to ensure that we offer all Library Service at Home customers an alternative way of receiving the service to ensure they do not lose out.” she said.

“We will work with each individual to ensure they can continue to receive the service.”