Have your say on the future of Isle of Wight libraries

As reported last week, the council have launched a consultation on the future of the library service.


This in from the council, in their own words. Ed

The Isle of Wight Council has launched a consultation on proposals to change the way it delivers its library service.

The council is seeking the views of local people on plans for greater community involvement in the running of local libraries, and these include proposals that Cowes, Freshwater and Ventnor libraries operate in premises shared by and funded by local partners.

‘Community supported’ libraries
This would be a so-called ‘community supported’ library – a cross between a ‘full community’ library, entirely managed and paid for by the community, and a ‘full branch’ library which is entirely funded by the council.

It is envisaged around £280,000 of the current spend on the library service could be saved with the council still meeting its obligations in relation to the service. This is part of the council’s attempts to make the best use of its limited resources in the delivery of the services it must provide by law in the context of the national austerity agenda which requires the local authority to save some £28 million in its annual spending plans by the March 2017.

The consultation, which was launched on Monday 6 July and can be found online, focuses on three main proposals:

  • Community supported libraries.
  • Reduction in opening hours in the three proposed community supported libraries.
  • Changes to the mobile library service.

The consultation continues until 6 September, and as well as the online version there are paper copies available, which together with background information will be available in libraries, council leisure centres and help centres.

Position is strongly influenced by the national austerity agenda
Executive member with responsibility for libraries, Councillor Shirley Smart, said:

“This is a very important consultation for the future shape of our library service, and we would strongly encourage as many people as possible to respond to ensure we have comprehensive feedback on these proposals.

“As with many other proposals coming forward for council services, our position is strongly influenced by the national austerity agenda to make the most effective use of the limited resources available to us.”

The consultation will close at midnight on 6 September 2015.

Image: Paul Lowry under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 7th July, 2015 11:01am


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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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12 Comments on "Have your say on the future of Isle of Wight libraries"

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‘Greater community involvement’ in the running of local libraries means, local parishes bail out the Government cuts through volunteers and rundown of staff and buildings. The reality of Austerity is starting to eat away at the social fabric. We’ve got cuts in Libraries Buses Schools Hospital Staff Trains What more is there to come, better still what are we going to do about it?
There isn’t really a lot in the consultation survey. So, less for the council to ignore. How does paying workers nothing (i.e. volunteers) sit with the vote to pay all council workers the living wage? Rather than tinker about at the edges why not just get to the meat of the savings that have to be made and slash the big council money budgets? Tuppence here and… Read more »
I believe totally in public libraries with proper professional paid librarians. If we don’t have a proper public library in every town and city we’re no longer a true ciivilised democracy. But I’m not sure that there are any ‘big council money budgets’. The national government, which 25% of the voters supported for reasons I still find hard to understand, is laying siege to local government and… Read more »
When this started in Pughtime, I proved statistically Bembridge library had higher usage and footfall than any other library on the Island. Needless to say it was ignored by the then IWC and was not mentioned in Pugh’s presentation to the Select Committee. Thankfully the local volunteer group (aided by retired professional librarians has kept this vital part of our village services going. (BTW is Pugh still… Read more »
Tony Richards
You can prove almost anything with statistics, if Bembridge Library had a higher footfall than Newport, Ryde or even some of the smaller places I would be very surprised. It always seems so dead in there and some volunteers seem more interested in having a cosy chat and playing at libraries than helping customers. At least in council run libraries there are staff who may or may… Read more »

I wish I could find the figures again to demonstrate but can’t. Maybe OTW/VB can resurrect them?


BTW I said :usage: as well as “footfall”

Tony Richards

I would still doubt the validity of your statistics, just through common sense really!


Your choice Tony…. but check out average the comparative borrowings per user.

@Tony. You might want to challenge the following submission by to the Select Committee challenging the Pugh evidence by Keith Fagan Former Independent member of the Standards Committee of IOW and former chairman of Bembridge Library User Group. “The IOW has failed to produce evidence of this. This was certainly not part of the process as far as Bembridge Library is concerned. Bembridge made significantly more usage,… Read more »
Tony Richards

As I said, you can prove almost anything with statistics…


… like the need for drastic austerity measures nationally and locally?