A 12-week consultation period on the future of library services in Bolton commences today (Tuesday, March 1).
Library users, members of the public, staff and partner organisations are encouraged to register their views via an online survey.
The survey is available on the Bolton Council website until midnight on Friday, May 20.
Anyone without internet access can use the computers at their local library and hard copies will be available on request for those who prefer a paper version.
People filling in the survey will be asked which libraries they use currently, how any closures would impact on their lives and if they can suggest alternative ways of making the necessary savings.
As part of the council’s programme to deliver savings of £60 million over two years, the Executive approved a review and reorganisation of the borough’s library service in January to potentially contribute £400,000 to £500,000 to those savings.
In February, the Executive Member for Adult and Community Services, Councillor Elaine Sherrington, approved three proposals for consultation.
• a review of the current library service using objective criteria
• the retention of the central library as the hub of the network
• the retention of the township libraries in Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton
The objective criteria include things such as closeness to other libraries, the condition of the building, deprivation factors and accessibility.
Councillor Sherrington said: “Over the years we have worked hard with staff, customers and partners to create a library service that meets the demands of an ever-changing world.
“However, we are in a position where we must find considerable savings across the library network. In order to achieve those savings and ensure we maintain a library service which meets the needs of Bolton residents, we are asking for views on how the new network could take shape.
“As part of the review we will look at potentially enhancing opening hours, facilities, access to other services and ICT. Now is the time to have your say, so I would urge people to go online and fill out the libraries survey.”
Following the consultation period, a report detailing proposals for the future of the library network will be presented to the Executive Member for Adult and Community Services in the summer.
Hard copies of the consultation pack are available on request at any of Bolton’s libraries or by calling 01204 333333.