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Mobile library service is latest to face axe threat

Malvern Editorial 20th Aug, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE MOBILE library service across much of Malvern is to be axed in a bid to save hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The majority of the 60 plus collection points across the district are in line to be removed while others will have stopping times cut. Changes are also proposed to the Library Service at Home.

Worcestershire County Council is consulting on the move which will save £100,000 a year as the authority battles to make savings between £20million and £25million a year over the next four years.

The proposal will also see the service visit every four weeks instead of three and the number of vehicles slashed from three to one.

A total of 993 people use the mobile library service ever year across Worcestershire. But council chiefs say over the last ten years visits have dropped by 40 per cent, loans are down 35 per cent and the cost to the authority is now £3.11 per visit compared to £1.97 for every visit to an actual library branch.

The plan sees every stop within three miles of a main library branch removed meaning the service will no longer visit Great Malvern, Malvern Link, West Malvern, Poolbrook, Malvern Wells, Welland, Castlemorton, Drakes Broughton, Upton and Hanley Swan.

Other areas will also see a more limited service with reduced stopping times such as Leigh Sinton, Alfrick and Callow End.

The move has triggered concerns some of the district’s elderly and vulnerable residents will be left without access to a library, particularly given poor public transport links in parts of the town.

Council chiefs say an equality impact assessment will be carried out to identify anyone disadvantaged by the proposals.

Coun Lucy Hodgson, responsible for localism and communities on the council, said: “Through this consultation everyone has the opportunity to tell us what they think and we will be able to ensure all customers can continue to access library services and receive a service that is appropriate to them.”

The consultation runs until October 31. Questionnaires can be completed online at www.worcesterhire.gov.uk/librariesandlearning, while paper copies are available from the mobile library and library branches.

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