Corporate and Community Services Cabinet Member – Minutes – 13 October 2011

The original decision of the cabinet member (minute 7 refers) having been called-in and considered by the Corporate Scrutiny Panel (minute 21 refers) was referred back to the cabinet member to consider confirming the original decision or agreeing to change the decision having considered representations made by the panel. The subsequent decision of the cabinet member is set out below – 

9  (9)  REVIEW OF LIBRARY OPENING HOURS – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report for consideration of changes to opening hours at the four largest libraries in North Lincolnshire – Central, Brigg, Barton and Ashby. 

The report outlined that North Lincolnshire Council operated a network of one central library, 14 branch libraries and two mobile libraries.  These libraries were open to the public for a total of 387.5 hours per week, with 336 open hours across static libraries and 51.5 mobile library hours per week. 

The Director Corporate and Community Services explained that over the last six years the library service had modernised and rationalised its static library provision through a series of transformational developments. These included refurbishment or relocation of Central, Barton, Ashby, Crowle and Winterton libraries, with increased co-location with other services and some generic working. Self-service facilities had been introduced in six libraries, and one library had transferred to a community-run delivery model. In addition, there had also been a significant increase in capacity to develop and deliver 24/7 library services online. 

Service staff had started to look at opening hours across the library network. The first phase of this work had been to review opening hours at the four largest libraries in the network – Central, Brigg, Barton, Ashby. It was explained that these libraries had been operating with self-service facilities for over 15 months and it was considered that it was timely to look at service take up and patterns of use at these libraries in that context. 

Service managers had spoken to staff on an ongoing basis about levels of take up across the existing opening hours and these views had been taken into account in developing options for future opening hours. 

Resolved – (a)  That the options for developing changes to library opening hours set out within the report be noted, and (b) that a further report on these issues following development of and consultation on specific proposals for changes to library opening hours be received for consideration.