Manchester 's Libraries and Information Service has totally changed over the past few years. Two thirds of libraries have had money spent on them to improve their buildings and services, with new customer self-service terminals and more online services giving new ways for people to use libraries.
Manchester City Council wants to make sure that everyone in Manchester can access the services libraries provide, but with reduced money available we need a new way to achieve this. The Council's proposals are to keep a network of high-quality libraries spread across the city, to increase their opening hours and to look to use other buildings to provide books and other services in place of some existing libraries.
Manchester City Council aims to create unstaffed outreach libraries within other community buildings managed by local community groups or partner organisations. These outreach libraries would have a small collection of books and some computers with access to the Council network and support from a nearby library. Another possibility would be to find other local buildings that could be community book pick-up points - places for people to collect books they have ordered.
The proposals are:
To update the city-wide library strategy so that library services would be delivered through a network consisting of Central Library and 13 neighbourhood libraries (The Avenue, Beswick, Brooklands, Chorlton, Crumpsall, Didsbury, Forum, Gorton, Hulme, Longsight, Newton Heath, North City and Withington).
To improve the opening hours at the neighbourhood libraries by reintroducing lunchtime opening where it had been removed in the past.
To decommission and remove funding from six libraries and establish outreach libraries or community book pick-up points in their place (Burnage, Fallowfield, Levenshulme*, Miles Platting, New Moston and Northenden). On the basis of our experiences in other parts of the city, we fully expect to be able to develop the community option, but though very unlikely, if we could not, it would lead to the withdrawal of the service.
*Levenshulme would be housed in the new leisure facility due to open in 2015.
A library network of Central Library and 13 neighbourhood libraries, excluding any outreach provision, would mean:
99.9% of properties on the council tax register are within 2 miles of a library.
99.5% of properties on the council tax register are within 1.5 miles of a library.
84.54% of properties on the council tax register are within 1 mile of a library.
As agreed in 2011, Barlow Moor Library is to become an outreach library. Moss Side Powerhouse Library will be reviewed with other funded youth provision.
These proposals could achieve savings of between £413,000 and £500,000.
We are using this opportunity to take a fresh look at our libraries and consider new, more flexible ways to deliver library services. Your views are important to us and will help to inform the final decision-making when the results of the consultation and final recommendations are presented to the Council. The consultation will close on 17 April 2013.
Please take the time to complete the online consultation so we can take your views into account. All responses will be treated in confidence and analysis of the results will be carried out on an anonymous basis, so if you provide any contact details, these will not be used in the analysis.
We are holding a series of consultation sessions for residents, so if you would like to share your views with us, please come along to one of them.
Please use the link above to have your say on the proposals, the contact box below is for technical feedback about this web page.