Your help is needed in making sure our library service is ready for the future

As the way Staffordshire people use our libraries continues to change, the county council is looking at proposals to meet those changing needs and we are keen to hear what people think. We know that people who use our library book and music collections love them and we want to act now so that they remain relevant and popular for years to come.

We know that the library service itself has changed dramatically over the last decade along with the way that we get our information and it’s vital we move with the times to make sure we have a library service that will be fit for the next decade. We also know that people are using and accessing our libraries in different ways, so we need to find out why and what are they doing instead so we can help shape the new service. Ultimately we need to reinvigorate our libraries so they are better used by people and are delivering the kind of services that people want in this modern age of communication.

We’ve looked at ideas from other areas, recommendations from the Arts Council, and feedback from our first consultation which brought more than 2,300 responses. We’ve taken onboard the feedback and amended the proposals and now we want to discuss them more formally with residents.

Our proposals would mean that more services would be available online while in some areas we would look for local communities to come forward, get more involved, and even run their own library. This is something that is already happening in other parts of the country, including Warwickshire, where it is working well.

The proposals also include investment in our online offer to make it even easier for people to use and to improve compatibility with more electronic devices. We know there’s been a big increase in the use of e-books and the use of e-readers, smart phones and tablets so we want to make sure we support these new ways of accessing information.

I would encourage people to get involved in the consultation and let us know what you think. It starts on 7 July. You can find out more about the proposals at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/libraries/connectedlibraries

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