Mobile Libraries across the Island are the latest service to be hit by the Isle of Wight Council’s funding cuts.
The local authority said it plans to reduce the number of stops from 77 to 53, focusing on those stops which are least used. The frequency of visits will also reduce from three-weekly to four-weekly, with the borrowing period of items adjusted to reflect this. Isle of Wight Council has said the changes have arisen due to its ‘extreme financial position’. The reduction in the Mobile Library Service will save £23,500 annually, or the equivalent of one full-time post according to the local authority. Regular users and town and parish councils affected by this will be informed of the planned changes and asked for their views. Feedback on the plans will close on 30 September. Executive member responsible for libraries, Councillor Shirley Smart, said:
“It is with great regret that the council’s financial position has meant this proposed reduction in the number of locations visited by the service. However, unlike other parts of the country we remain determined to continue the service, and to do so as best we can within our limited resources.”Data shows that a total of 650 residents borrowed items from the Mobile Library Service across the Island in 2015″.
The Library Service is also working with AgeUK Isle of Wight to have its Home Library Service clients taken on by the AgeUK Isle of Wight ‘Good Neighbour’ volunteers. The intention is to have enough of these clients transferred over in 2017 to allow the mobile library schedule to return to three-weekly by the end of the year. Councillor Smart said:
“As part of the changes we are trying to offer alternatives to those users affected, including, where appropriate, the Home Mobile Library Service. We are also working with Age UK to develop our home mobile library scheme. “We would encourage those affected to reply with their views, and to contact the Library Service on (01983) 823824 for further advice and reassurance.”