West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2016-02-15
End date: 2016-03-07
Results: 2016-04-29

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

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, including an Equality Impact Assessment

Please visit our Budget Proposals 2016/17 webpage to find out why we are consulting.


The library service consists of nine branch libraries located across the district and two mobile libraries to reach areas of the district not served by the branch libraries.  The 'At Home' service assists those that can't get to either a branch or mobile library and is largely operated through volunteers.

In addition to providing access to books, the library service also assists with early learning, adult continued learning, Internet access and use of computer technology learning.  The branch libraries also provide facilities for various arts and craft activities and are available for use by various community groups

We consulted with you between 3 November to 14 December 2015 on a phase one proposal to reduce the mobile service from two vehicles to one, and to merge Burghfield Common Library with Mortimer Library into one building located in Mortimer.

*The following proposal now supersedes this*


To reduce the library network by closing eight branch libraries and stopping the two mobile libraries.  This will leave one branch library at Newbury and the 'At Home' service.

We will continue to provide assistance with access to the digital service, but will not develop the digital service any further.

It is anticipated that this will save the council £730,000.

What do we think the impact will be?

To be able to use a West Berkshire library will require travel to Newbury, or access via the digital service.  The 'At Home' service will continue.

Services, such as adult and early learning, computer technology assistance and access, will cease from those branches that close and the buildings will no longer be accessible for use by the various groups.

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 have previously explored shared services with other local authorities however, the savings potential is insufficient to meet the current savings need.

Many volunteers contribute towards the delivery of the library service and we continue to look to increase their involvement, however we do feel that the current paid staffing levels are near the minimum required to operate the current level of service.

We are keen to expand the 'At Home' service to assist the most vulnerable and will remain reliant on volunteers to do this.

This consultation is closed.

    (NB: Twitter and Facebook posts will not be considered as a valid response. Please use the link below to take part in the consultation.)

    All feedback will be considered, and a final decision will be made by the Full Council on 24 March 2016. Following this meeting the results, and your anonymised response, will be posted on this page.

    What you told us

    We received a total of 2,751 responses to this consultation, 2,307 of these contained comments.

    We have condensed all your comments into the 'Consultation Summary Report' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'. These can be found in 'Documents' below.

    Any petitions submitted have also been recorded and published.

    What we did

    A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on 24 March 2016. This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

    Following this, at the Special Council Meeting on 24 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal.

    At the vote, it was agreed to close Wash Common and Theale libraries, to reduce the mobile library service to one vehicle, but make £475,000 of transitional funding available in 2016/17.

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