Windsor & Maidenhead board reconsider library closures
Libraries intended for closure will remain open under new proposals – but with reduced opening hours.
As part of the Royal Borough’s transformation strategy, which would offer residents a 24/7 digital library service, the council was looking to achieve efficiencies within the service, including closures and time changes.
A 12-week consultation was launched, which ran from February 6 to April 30, and just over 1,000 responded.
Officers reviewed and analyzed the comments and made proposals on the future of the borough’s libraries and service – which will go to a community review and review meeting next Tuesday.
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The most controversial decision involved the closure of Boyn Grove Library, which would have saved £ 22,000, where angry residents have started a petition urging the council to think again.
Under the new proposals, the library will remain open – but its current opening hours of 20 hours a week will be reduced to 1 p.m.
The report states that this was made possible by the introduction of a new program that would involve the removal of the mobile library vehicle, which the report claims is “end of life”, and the accessibility service.
This would be replaced by a screening and delivery service with 50 new volunteers involved to support people with disabilities.
They say that by doing this, it will not only save the Royal Borough £ 292,000, but also all libraries will be able to stay open and offer 314.5 hours of operation per week, which is 97 hours more than what was originally offered.
While this is more than expected, overall business hours are still below the current 354 hours per week.
Other libraries scheduled to close, including Datchet, Old Windsor and Sunninghill, have also avoided closure, but will see their hours reduced per week.
These libraries will receive financial contributions from their respective parish councils and local trusts.
Dedworth Library hours were considered reduced to 13 hours per week – but that plan was scrapped and the current 23 hours will remain.
In the future, this service could be supported by the proposed Windsor City Council, if formed, to support the library.
The council also plans to keep a container library in Wraysbury to save £ 55,000 a year in towing costs and to close three more in Holyport, Furze Platt and Woodlands Park.
In the report, Councilor Samantha Rayner (Con: Eton & Castle), Deputy Chief and Senior Member of Resident Services, said: “Teams will continue to examine diversity, needs and technology to develop and shape libraries. .
“Books are at the heart of the library and this is a key priority for the libraries of the Royal Borough, so the constant evolution and promotion of literature and culture will be the key to success.
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“Residents who cannot visit physical libraries will continue to benefit from an improved pick-up and delivery / home library service that will ensure they have access to all the books they want to read.
“The Royal Borough sees its work with its partners as a key part of its future to meet the needs close to each location and to adapt resources. ”
Cabinet will decide to implement this on June 24, where the process is expected to begin in October and end next April.