The future of Swanage library – along with others in the county – is the subject of a public consultation that’s been launched by Dorset Council.
Library users and non-users are being asked to share their views on the service. The consultation runs until Friday 7th January 2022.
The current library strategy is eleven years old. Over that time there have been significant changes in public behaviour and digital technology, and the impacts of Covid have also been felt.
A major review of library services is underway
Within the Purbeck area there are two council run libraries: Wareham and Swanage and one community managed library at Corfe Castle. There are 23 council-run and eight community-managed libraries in the whole Dorset Council area.
Cllr Laura Miller, ward member for West Purbeck, is also Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for customer and community services, in charge of future strategy.
Local people are invited to share ideas
“Really exciting time”
Councillor Miller said:
“This is a really exciting time for our library service and we need people to get involved and let us know what they love about their library – and also what they’d love to see in the future.
“What would you like to see for Swanage library in the future? Tell us.
“It’s just so important that we hear from everybody – whether you love our libraries, whether you haven’t used a library for ages, or whether you don’t. We want to know why.”
Swanage library assistant with some of the new books
Budget of just over £4 million
In addition to the physical library buildings, all of Purbeck’s residents are able to access the free online library service, which includes digital resources: eBooks, audiobooks, e-Comics, e-magazines and e-newspapers.
The overall budget for the Dorset Council library service for the financial year 2021 to 2022 is just over £4 million.
This includes money for buying new books, computing, logistics, staff and staff training, and the provision of a range of events, activities and community-based project work.
Knit and Natter is just one of the groups that meet in Swanage library
More than just books
Libraries these days are more than just book-lending services.
They are often at the heart of local communities and provide activities and events, reading groups, skills and learning, health and wellbeing, information, as well as access to computers and more. They also stage art and cultural exhibitions.
Books and activities for children are an important part of what’s on offer
“Time to look to the future”
Cllr Miller said:
“This initial consultation period will be a conversation with our communities, employees, and partners, to better understand what they need from the service, now and in the future.
“Since the previous library review in 2010, we’ve seen big changes in both public behaviour and digital technology, and it is now time to look to the future of our libraries.”
You can find out more about the survey here.
People have until Friday 7th January 20212 to respond