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Library strategy and consultation

Have your say on a new chapter for our libraries

We've launched a public consultation to give you the opportunity to help shape plans for a modern, inclusive library service in St Helens Borough.

In May, cabinet members approved the draft St Helens Borough Library Strategy 2021-2026, which looks to bring forward a vision for the future delivery of a 21st-century service, responding to the needs of library users and embracing community involvement.

With central government funding reduced from £127m in 2010 to £12m in 2021, the council is reviewing ways of how its services like libraries - which are used a lot more now than for just traditional book borrowing - can be transformed to deliver an offer that meets the changing needs of residents and communities.

As part of the strategy, residents are invited to take part in a questionnaire for the council to gain a better understanding on how libraries are being used, how often and what changes library users would like to see.

We've also engaged with independent social enterprise PLACED to deliver several in-person and online engagement events:

During the pandemic, the library service has stepped up to continue to provide the vital services that residents enjoy through alternative ways. From being able to get e-materials like books and magazines online at any time of day, to home delivery service providing for those unable to leave home or with limited online access, the past year has seen library members learn new ways of taking advantage of the great offers.

The strategy notes that libraries are being used more and more as meeting places for community groups and partner agencies. This demonstrates the need for the service to continue to evolve to meet demand, including enhancing its digital offer.

We are passionate about providing people with opportunities to read for pleasure, to access information and to develop their knowledge and skills while providing safe, secure and welcoming spaces in which to do so.

Community-led model?

We have a statutory duty to deliver a free library service to all who live, work or study in the borough, although The Department for Culture, Media and Sport allows a wide range of approaches when deciding how library services can be run.

Some areas in the UK, such as Essex and Doncaster, have changed to a community-led management model, and the council is keen to hear from individuals, community groups, parish councils and businesses to explore the idea of introducing this approach in St Helens Borough.

Please complete the questionnaire by Friday 3 September 2021. It should take 5-10 minutes to complete. There are also paper copies also available in our libraries.

Complete the questionnaire | Read the strategy