East Lothian Council is introducing changes to the mobile library service from April 2014. Currently the mobile service operates from two vehicles but one of the vans has reached the end of its operational life which has given the library service an opportunity to review the service as a whole.
Cabinet member for Community Wellbeing, Cllr Tim Day, said: “This is a unique situation which has arisen from the end of viability of one of the vans. The current cost of providing the mobile library service is £133,000 per annum and as the Library Service, in common with all Council Departments is required to make substantial savings as part of a three year budget process, this has resulted in the service as a whole being reviewed.”
“Whilst we recognise the changes may cause some users disappointment, the new service will be a mainly village based service determined by the present usage levels. We are also providing schools who currently use the mobile service with alternatives to ensure resources continue to be available.”
“These changes also recognise that many people choose to visit branch libraries when visiting local towns when shopping, going to the doctor, bank etc. East Lothian has an excellent network of branch libraries with four of the town libraries refurbished, extended or relocated within the past two years. Opening hours have also been improved across some libraries with Haddington Library in the John Gray Centre now open 7 days.”
The changes will mean that the mobile service will no longer visit some primary schools as part of the school day but the mobile library will be in some villages after school hours so that parents and children can access the service together. In addition the Library Service is advising affected schools of the School Library Service which provides both fiction boxes and project boxes to ensure that teachers and pupils have necessary material.
In line with public demand the library service has also expanded its services which are available electronically including on-line reference resources, e-audio books and e-magazines all available free to library members.