Mobile library faces the axe but council says service will still be available to all

Library image.
Library image.

A pledge has been made to ensure that society’s most vulnerable are not cut off from library services as County Hall prepares to axe its mobile service.

Herts County Council’s travelling mobile library is set to get the chop under money-saving measures.

A petition calling for the service to be retained was considered by the council’s libraries, performance and customer service cabinet panel on Friday, as they met to discuss a paper on delivering library outreach services.

Library services across the county are being overhauled under the Inspiring Libraries strategy, which aims to save £2.5 million each year.

The mobile library service, which travels to rural areas without a local library, costs around £14 per customer visit to run and a consultation, held in 2013, revealed that 77 per cent of users also visited another library.

Councillor Frances Button, who oversees libraries, said: “It’s vital that we continue to ensure that people who can’t get out and about can still use our library service. I believe that a new approach will offer a better service to the people who need our help while also making better use of taxpayers’ money.”

Plans are being drawn up for a more cost-effective and personalised home library service for those with disability, mobility difficulties or caring responsibilities. The council is also exploring ways to strengthen community to library transport with support from charities and voluntary groups.

The council’s Cabinet is due to make a final decision on the mobile service on Monday.