From Tuesday 4 May, the first phase of public consultation begins for ‘The Next Chapter’: Nottingham City Council’s review of its library service.
Local residents, including library users and non-users, partners and stakeholders, are being invited to help shape a modern library service for Nottingham via an initial survey.
The ten-minute questionnaire gives everyone in Nottingham an opportunity to share their ideas about the more general, post-pandemic services and facilities they need and want in their communities as well as how specific library services could be developed and delivered.
Launched in January 2021, ‘The Next Chapter’ is a thorough assessment of what a modern library service for Nottingham could and should look like, and the opinions gathered via a two-phased public consultation will help inform a new, long-term plan.
Both locally and nationally, the ways in which people use library services has changed significantly over the last five or so years.
As more people make use of technology in their day-to-day lives, Nottingham has seen fewer people visiting library buildings and more people accessing collections digitally. The coronavirus pandemic, too, has had an impact on how Nottingham City Libraries delivers its services; putting even more emphasis on their online activities and events, Click & Collect offering and Home Library Service.
At the same time, like many other local authorities, Nottingham City Council continues to face a challenging financial situation and is required to make considerable budget savings across all its services. The review of its library service aims to achieve greater efficiency and value for money, while protecting a service that is statutory and highly valued across the city.
The council remains committed to delivering a high-quality library service, including a new Central Library.
There has been continued investment in libraries over a number of years, including the recently opened Dales Centre and Strelley Library and the achievement of the externally validated Customer Service Excellence standard in November 2019. New partnerships have seen Nottingham City Libraries extend its offer beyond their buildings, including the very successful StoryParks initiative, which took the city’s libraries into its parks and open spaces. This review will ensure library services reflect the future needs of Nottingham’s communities.
While savings have been announced, no decisions have been made on what the library service will look like in the future; the consultation and research outcomes from this project will help inform any next steps.
Nottingham City Council’s Head of Culture & Libraries, Nigel Hawkins said:
“The way in which people use library services has changed and will continue to do so – and we need to make sure we evolve to meet these needs. We remain absolutely committed to providing a high-quality library service; one that’s fit for the future and responds to a new generation of library customers.
“We’re hoping everyone in Nottingham will take part in the initial survey; to help us understand more about how and why they use or don’t use our libraries and help shape the future of library provision in the city.”
Findings from the initial survey, as well as independent focus groups, interviews and research, will inform the options presented in the second phase of public consultation, scheduled to take place in the autumn.
The initial survey can be accessed online or by requesting a paper copy via your local Nottingham City library.