Serve your­self li­brary could see re­dun­dan­cies

Loughborough Echo - - NEWS - By Me­gan Cox me­gan.cox@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

NEW ‘smart’ technology, which is set to roll out to 15 li­braries across the county, in­clud­ing Lough­bor­ough and Shep­shed, is to lead to a re­duc­tion in staff roles.

The equip­ment, known as ‘self­ac­cess technology’, will al­low peo­ple, who have reg­is­tered to take part, to use their li­brary card to ac­cess build­ings in or­der to bor­row, re­turn and re­new items and use li­brary fa­cil­i­ties.

Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil says, if given the go ahead, the move will save £230,000 and “a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the sav­ing would come from a re­duc­tion in roles”.

A county coun­cil spokesper­son told the Echo 54 full-time staff work at the li­braries it runs in Ashby, Blaby, Birstall, Broughton Ast­ley, Coalville, Earl Shilton, Glen­field, Hinck­ley, Lough­bor­ough, Lut­ter­worth, Mel­ton, Oadby, Shep­shed, Sys­ton and Wigston.

When asked how many roles will be af­fected, the spokesper­son said: “De­tails won’t be clear un­til we’ve con­sulted and de­ter­mined the open­ing ar­range­ments for each li­brary.”

The plans are part of wider pro­pos­als to save £1.3 mil­lion by 2020/21.

The idea to roll out self-ac­cess technology comes fol­low­ing a trial at Sys­ton li­brary.

Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil­lor Coun Richard Blunt, cab­i­net mem­ber for com­mu­ni­ties and well­be­ing, said: “Self-ac­cess technology makes it more con­ve­nient for peo­ple who work dur­ing the day or on shifts, plus par­ents who want to take their chil­dren to the li­brary on the way to school.

“Dur­ing the four-month trial in Sys­ton, open­ing hours in­creased by 30 hours a week and a num­ber of peo­ple en­quired about us­ing the venue for com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We have a good track record in de­liv­er­ing li­braries dif­fer­ently.

“De­spite the fi­nan­cial pres­sures, the roll-out en­ables us to ex­tend the ben­e­fits seen in Sys­ton to thou­sands of res­i­dents.

“Bud­get pres­sures are ramp­ing up, leav­ing us with tough choices. But we have a clear strat­egy in place, and are com­mit­ted to ex­plor­ing in­no­va­tive ideas.”

Other cost-cut­ting pro­pos­als in­clude bring­ing to­gether ar­chive and mu­seum col­lec­tions into one hub and re­view­ing the green plaques scheme and mo­bile li­brary ser­vice.

The county coun­cil is also con­sid­er­ing if Cen­tury The­atre at Snib­ston, Coalville, “could be run by the com­mu­nity”.

The re­port was dis­cussed by the county coun­cil’s adults and com­mu­ni­ties scru­tiny com­mit­tee yes­ter­day (Tues­day, Septem­ber 12), and is to go be­fore cab­i­net on Fri­day (Septem­ber 15).

• It will be streamed live at: www. le­ices­ter­shire.gov.uk/we­b­cast

Lough­bor­ough Li­brary, in Granby Street, Lough­bor­ough.

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