Petition - Saving Hampshire's libraries

Response from Hampshire County Council, April 2016

Thank you for your recent letter in response to the draft Library Strategy to 2020. I acknowledge receipt of the petition signed by over 150 Netley residents and note the comments included.

The draft Strategy to 2020 recommends that libraries are placed into four tiers based on how busy they are, with the aim of providing a standardised approach to our services. You raised some concerns that Netley Library is proposed to be within Tier 3 and is under threat of closure or cuts to services. We are disappointed that there have been some inaccurate reports in the media that all Tier 3 libraries will close or be transferred to local community groups with services delivered by volunteers. This is not true. Some Tier 3 libraries may close or be transferred in the future, but it is important to stress that at this early stage, no decisions have been made about any library closures. If any changes are proposed to Netley Library, we will actively engage with local communities and organisations such as the Parish Council to seek views and explore ideas to maintain library services using volunteers before any decisions are made.

Thank you for the link to your website. We have reviewed the comments from local residents as part of the planned decision about the future of Hampshire Libraries that will be taken on 18 April 2016. The public consultation on the draft Library Strategy to 2020 was one of the most popular ever held by the County Council and we have received more than 9,000 responses online, by post and by telephone. The consultation was widely publicised to the Hampshire media (via press releases to newspapers, radio and television), directly to more than 250 local parish and town councils throughout the county, to over 150,000 library customers via e-newsletter, as well through regular posts to the County Council's 40,000 social media followers, and to 37,000 County Council staff. In addition, there was information in the 53 static libraries and on the 4 mobile library vehicles serving 250 stops across Hampshire.

The consultation, which closed on 16th January, is helping the Council to identify what is most important to library users and indeed to all Hampshire residents. A summary of the responses to the consultation and the analysis is available to the public on the County Council's website in the council meetings archive.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I appreciate the interest that you have expressed in the future Strategy for the Library Service.

Yours sincerely,

Nicola Horsey

Assistant Director - Community and Regulatory Services