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Plans for self-service extended opening times at libraries in Lichfield and Burntwood to be debated in 2018

Plans to rethink the way libraries operate in Lichfield and Burntwood will be discussed next year.

Burntwood Library

Burntwood Library

Staffordshire County Council will begin a three month consultation at the start of 2018 as it looks at options including the use of technology to extend opening hours with an automated service, increasing the number of community-managed libraries and reviewing how the mobile and travelling service is used.

Cllr Gill Heath, Cabinet member for communities, said the move could see libraries staffed during the day before registered users could access the site on a self-service basis in the evening.

“We’re committed to keeping our libraries open and flexible to meet the changing needs of residents so we’ll spend 12 weeks discussing different ideas with them,” Cllr Heath said.

“The technology for extended opening has already been working successfully in many urban and rural areas without any problems.

“Residents in places like Peterborough and Brighton have embraced the flexibility on offer to and it’s been a positive experience for users, not only to borrow books, but, for example, to use the PCs and print out work.”

The consultation is the latest in a series of changes made to the service across Staffordshire. Since 2014, 23 out of the region’s 43 libraries have been transferred or are being transferred to community groups.

Cllr Heath said: “We’re due to open two new libraries in the next few months and we are committed to running a flexible service which keeps the library at the heart of the community it serves.”

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