Borrowers have a say on libraries

A BETTER service with improved facilities is on the cards after more than 1,000 responses were received to a survey about Northumberland’s mobile library service.

Presenting an update on the strategic library review at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s North Area Committee on Monday, Lorraine Dewison, service manager libraries, customer services, registrars and coroners and Faye Menzies, project manager, said that with a few changes and a look at the service as a whole they are confident that it can be improved.

Ms Dewison said: “I firmly believe that with some change of routes, speaking to the people who drive the vehicles, speaking to users and other changes like bringing back the Saturday service, which seemed to be popular before, the service will be a real benefit to people.

“We are also wanting to link in with our summer project looking at our home library service for housebound people and what else we can do with that.”

She told councillors that a survey about the service, which was sent to all registered mobile library users, received 1,400 responses.

One of the recommendations is to reduce the number of mobile library vans from the current four which are on the road down to three.

But Ms Dewison said that the council is confident it can do more with three.

“We are trying to improve the service and make sure is it workable and that people are able to access it,” Ms Menzies added.

“We had a fantastic response to the questionnaire. We and the current users are aware that it is not working the way it should be.

“We are using the responses to base the reports on the uses of the three remaining vans.”

A consultation on that report will start on Monday and runs to the end of December.

“Doing this means we should be able to get as many people as possible telling us what they want,” said Ms Menzies.

Other proposals include changing it to a two-week service instead of three weeks, which may mean a rise in fine charges.

Coun Anthony Murray said: “We had the unofficial opening of the new Wooler library on Saturday and there was a mobile library van there.

“It is a very, very important service and it is great to see such enthusiasm.”

Coun Jeff Watson added: “The parish council at Warkworth has been discussing this and they don’t know about the frequency of the mobile library in the village.”

A new website for the library service has been set up at