West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2015-11-03
End date: 2015-12-14
Results: 2016-03-03

[ARCHIVED] Budget Proposal 2016/17 - Phase One: Library Service

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, with supporting information and Equality Impact Assessments

If you haven't already seen our video explaining why these changes are being proposed, please visit our Budget Proposals 2016/17 webpage.


It is a statutory requirement to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service.

The mobile library service reaches areas of the district not served by a static branch library. The use of the service has diminished over the years and users are also using static branch libraries, suggesting that the mobile provision is much less essential than it once was.

The library service in West Berkshire is well distributed across the district, although the branches at Burghfield Common and Mortimer are only about 2 miles apart.


Visits to our two Mobiles have reduced by about 45% since 2005, and the number of items borrowed from them reduced by 25% in the last full year. We propose to reduce this service so it can be provided by one single staffed vehicle. In mitigation of the effect on those customers who are unable to travel to a library we will seek to expand the At Home Library Service by increasing volunteers.

Burghfield Common Library is about 2 miles from Mortimer Library, and in order to help us meet the level of savings required of Libraries in 2016 we propose to merge Burghfield Common Library with Mortimer Library into one building located in Mortimer.

The two proposals will save approximately £90,000.

What do we think the impact will be?

We think these proposals will retain a library service which continues to meet our statutory responsibility of providing a comprehensive and efficient service, in the present context of austerity. The proximity of Mortimer Library to the communities served by Burghfield Common Library and the expansion of the At Home Service will help us to continue to achieve this.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

We have looked at how income can be increased, but the possibility of generating sufficient income to support this service has proven to be limited. We are keen to expand the At Home Service to assist the most vulnerable. We have previously explored shared services with other local authorities, however the savings potential is insufficient to meet the current savings need. We are assisted by over 200 volunteers within the library service and we continue to look to increase that involvement however, we do feel that the current paid staffing levels are near the minimum required to operate the current level of service.

In considering which branch to propose for closure, Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries are quite similar in their levels of business and very close to each other. The main benefit of Mortimer is in the size and condition of the building, which the council has recently invested in re-roofing and replacement windows incorporating up to date energy efficiency elements.

This consultation is now closed.

What you told us

We received 256 responses to this consultation.

We have condensed all your comments into the 'Summary of Responses' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'.

These can be found in 'Documents' below.

What we did

A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on 11 February 2016.

This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

Following this, at the Full Council Meeting on 1 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal as part of setting the Revenue Budget for 2016/17.

At the vote, the budget was agreed with the suggested amendments.

This proposal has been superseded by a Phase Two proposal which will be determined on 24 March 2016.

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