As previously noted on this website, Essex County Council is currently consulting about library services.
I have received a number of emails from concerned constituents, and will be bringing all the comments received to the attention of the Leader of Essex County Council, Cllr David Finch. I raised the issue of support for local public libraries in Parliament during questions to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in December which begin at 0930 - you can view the question and response here:
I have also received the following information from Essex County Council's Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate (including Libraries), Cllr Susan Barker:
"Based on feedback and experience so far, we are changing our approach to the information drop ins at libraries about the future library services consultation.
Instead of just one two- or four-hour slot, we are offering a week at each library during which people can drop in any time it is open to ask questions and find out what the strategy is about. Once they’ve done so, if they want help to access the survey, library staff can provide it.
We’re making the change because feedback so far has shown that people want to be able to drop in at times convenient to them, including weekends and evenings. In some locations lots of people want to find out about the consultation. In smaller libraries, this could pose a serious risk to health and safety if a lot of people arrive at once and mean that some people leave frustrated that their expectations haven’t been met.
We also want to ensure that people who might need help to access the information or the survey, have the time and space to do so; with a large number of people at once, this is difficult to do.
Please note that the purpose of the drop-ins is to provide information, not to gather feedback. We are asking everybody to respond to the consultation via the survey, preferably online, as this is the most efficient and accurate way to ensure their views are recorded and heard.
The new drop-in times are now available at http://libraries.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation/information-drop-ins/ ."