Views on libraries wanted 

31/08/11
Photo of Bolton Library
Bolton libraries are under review

Bolton Council is more than half way through a second period of consultation on the future of the library network.

Just two weeks remain for residents to fill in the survey, either online or by hand if they have received a survey in the post to their home address.

The council issued 7,000 paper copies of the survey to a random sample of residents throughout the borough in order to obtain a fair representation of people’s views.

Anyone who has received a survey through the post should return it in the Freepost envelope by midnight on September 16.

The latest edition of Bolton Scene, the council’s newspaper, will also be delivered over the next week and will include details of how people can have their say on the proposals.

The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “We are doing all we can to encourage people to take part in the consultation and have their say on the proposals for the library network.

“We welcome the views of everyone who has an opinion on the changes and have enabled people to fill out the questionnaire online. However, if anyone has received a paper copy of the survey through the post, I would urge them to take just a few minutes to complete the form and return it in the Freepost envelope provided.”

In July, Bolton Council’s Executive agreed to further consultation on a set of three new proposals for the library network.

Option one, which was the Executive’s preferred option, would see the library network reduced from 15 to 10 libraries and a proposed reduction of 145 hours per week.

Central Library would become the hub of the network, opening 65 hours a week, to include Sundays.

Farnworth, Little Lever, Horwich, Harwood and Westhoughton would become the five key community libraries for the borough, and the first point of contact for wider council services.

There could be potential to develop health and wellbeing and digital services at Breightmet and High Street libraries, and Blackrod and Bromley Cross libraries would offer 24 hours a week.

New neighbourhood collections are being proposed to provide an alternative to library buildings at Astley Bridge, Highfield, Castle Hill, Oxford Grove and Heaton. The service could be located in a partner facility, providing a book collection and a link through to the wider service.

Option two would see a proposed reduction of 188.75 hours a week, which equates to 33 per cent across all 15 libraries, and option three would result in 253 reduced hours, which equates to 48 per cent, at all but Central Library.

Each option would save the council in the region of £400,000 but options two and three have more of an impact on staff numbers because there would be no saving on building costs.

Once the results of the consultation have been collated, a report will be presented to the Executive with a set of new proposals.

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Media contact
Karen Spibey
01204 332064