Citizens Advice New Forest and library staff will share a new helpdesk which is being installed as part of the £17,000 refurbishment by Hampshire County Council’s Library Service. Brand new top of the range self service machines and new carpets are also being provided.
Councillor Seán Woodward, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, said: “We’re really proud of how we’re expanding the range of services available for the local community, and we welcome Citizens Advice New Forest on board.
“This refurbishment work at Ringwood is the latest example of how we are investing in Hampshire’s Library Service and adapting to meet the changing needs of library customers. We are making the spaces multi-functional, installing modern technology and collaborating with partners to provide access to more services in the same place for residents. We are also committed to making sure that our library buildings are energy efficient, guaranteeing that the buildings themselves are fit for purpose and financially efficient.”
Malcolm Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice New Forest, said: “We are looking forward to moving into Ringwood Library and complementing existing services. Our staff will be on hand to give free impartial, confidential and independent advice for people of all ages on matters such as scam awareness, pensions, rent and general wellbeing.”
Alongside the library’s new touch screen machines for customers to quickly and easily borrow and renew items, Citizens Advice New Forest will introduce a new self service terminal so that visitors can look up advice and information by topic.
To ensure the improvements can be carried out as quickly as possible, the library will be closed from 3 to 23 September, with Citizens Advice New Forest available in branch from 2 October.
During this time, customers will be able to borrow up to 30 books and will not be subject to fines or charges. The next nearest libraries are at Fordingbridge, Lyndhurst and New Milton all of which will be open as usual. The increasingly popular e-book and e-magazine service is also available at www.hants.gov.uk/library.
Ringwood Library is just one of the libraries across the county benefiting from the installation of new self service equipment. The kiosks form part of the County Council’s Library Strategy – and a commitment to reinvest £500,000 a year, from the Development Fund, until 2020, into library buildings and technology.