Public invited to have their say on future of Dorset libraries

lyme regis library

DORSET Council has launched a public consultation to help inform how it develops and delivers its library service in the future.

Library users and non-users are being asked to share their views up until January 7 2022 online at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/lets-talk-libraries

Libraries are at the heart of Dorset’s communities and provide highly-valued services, including book lending, activities and events, reading groups, skills and learning, health and wellbeing, information provision, digital access and support, and art and cultural exhibitions.

People of all ages can enjoy all of this and more, within a safe and welcoming environment.

There are 23 council-run and eight community-managed libraries in the Dorset Council area, inlcuding a council-run facility in Lyme Regis.

The current library strategy is 11 years old. Over those 11 years, there have been significant changes in public behaviour and digital technology, and the impacts of the COVID pandemic have been felt.

During the council’s last review of libraries in 2011, campaigners fought hard to save Lyme Regis Library from closure. Charmouth lost its council-run service and now runs a community library.

The current consultation seeks to look to the future of Dorset’s libraries – how can they best meet the needs of local residents and communities, now and over the next ten years?

Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer and Community Services, said:  “This is an exciting time: we are calling on all residents to help us shape the future of Dorset’s library service.

“Since the previous library review in 2010, we’ve seen big changes in both public behaviour and digital technology, and it is now time to look to the future of our libraries.

“This initial consultation period will be a conversation with our communities, employees, and partners, to better understand what they need from the service, now and in the future.

“So, whether you are an active library user, if you have visited our libraries in the past, or if you have not visited one of our libraries before – we want to hear from you.

“Your views will help us to provide a modern relevant and sustainable service, and I encourage everyone to have their say.”

The survey responses will be brought together with evidence around local needs and responses from our partners. A draft strategy will then be produced which will be the focus of a second consultation, to be held in summer 2022.

In addition to the main survey, there is a dedicated children’s survey for ages 5-15 years.  To find all the surveys visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/lets-talk-libraries

Support is also available via customer services where an officer can help to fill in the survey over the phone  – – call 01305 221 000.

Those who need paper copies of the survey can access these by visiting their local library.

To say thank you to those who complete the survey, there will be the option to be entered into a prize draw to win one of two prizes, either a Kindle Paperwhite (8GB) or an Amazon Echo Dot, for the main survey.

Children who complete the survey could win a £25 Amazon Voucher (three vouchers will be awarded). Employees of Dorset Council are not eligible to enter the prize draw. Full T&Cs can be viewed online.

Woodmead Halls

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