Derbyshire’s mobile library service under threat

NDET 2-12-13 RKH 13 Derbyshire county council Library Bus.
NDET 2-12-13 RKH 13 Derbyshire county council Library Bus.

Derbyshire’s mobile library service – which last year loaned 719,000 titles – could be scrapped under council cost-saving measures.

The £720,000 service – which accounts for 17 per cent of all library issues – is under threat as part of Derbyshire County Council’s bid to save £157 million in five years.

Following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the public are invited to have their say on proposals which could include running a reduced service, or scrapping it altogether.

Cabinet Member for health and communities, Cllr Dave Allen said: “We are facing extraordinary and unprecedented budget pressures with cuts of £157m over five years so it is inevitable that many of our services, including libraries, will be subject to review.

“Sadly we have no alternative but to review services − these are savings the council has to make and if we don’t face these challenges now we will be storing up significant problems for the future.”

A nursery that regularly uses the mobile library has said service cuts would be a “great loss”.

June Francisco, manager at ABC nursery on Middlecroft Road, Inkersall, said:

“The children would definitely miss it. They love it and we use the books to help us when we are doing topics, and for things like baking.

“It is an important learning experience for children. They learn about taking care of books, borrowing things and making sure they are returned.

“A lot of the children would have to go to Staveley to get books out from the library there. For a lot of them, that just wouldn’t be possible.

“It would be a great loss.”

The service is primarily used by older people, schools, nurseries, and housebound customers. It includes ten vehicles – two of which were overhauled in April – and employs 26 people. A public consultation on the proposals will start in January.