When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Moving mobile libraries ahead
OXFORDSHIRE’S mobile libraries could be used to bring other services such as cash machines to rural communities.
This is one avenue Oxfordshire County Council is exploring as part of a review of the service.
A public consultation will begin this autumn as part of a review of the service which will also see £84,000 cut from the mobile library budget of £330,000 a year.
The future of the service was discussed by the council’s safer and stronger communities scrutiny committee meeting on Monday.
Library service manager Jillian Southwell was asked by county councillor Alan Thompson about the possibility of the service being sponsored by a bank which could see cashpoints installed within vehicles.
“It is one of the things we are looking at,” she said.
“We are looking at other things which can be delivered by mobile vehicles and how we can join up with them. This will make the service fit for the 21st century.
“We also run a home library service which is supported by volunteers and we deposit books at some 40 institutions.”
She added: “We need to look at how we can develop that and make the three services one cohesive whole.”
The county council runs five library vehicles that each serve designated geographical areas of the county on weekdays on a two-week rota.
Nearly 500 stops, lasting between 15 and 20 minutes, are made by the service a year.
The home library service delivers books and audio visual material to more than 1,000 housebound people who are registered with the service.
It also delivers up to 100 books to care homes and nursing homes as part of its deposit collection service.
County council cabinet member responsible for libraries Judith Heathcoat said a third of the savings had already been made by having mobile libraries staffed by a single person.
The council has said the cuts will not affect the frontline service.
She said: “I want a static library service and a mobile library service which complement each other for all groups of people.
“This review is not about cuts, it is about providing a service which is all-encompassing and reaches out to all.”