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Matthew Hancock
Your Local MP
 Haverhill UK Vacancy

Are mobile libraries worth the cost to taxpayers?

Monday, 5th September 2011.

A consultation asking users of Suffolk's mobile library service how they think savings could be made has been launched today.

The six-week consultation will give people an opportunity to tell Suffolk County Council what they value in the service as well as make suggestions on how to save public money.

Suffolk County Council currently spends 600,000 a year providing the service for around 7,000 customers. This equates to 7.70 per customer visit as opposed to 2.51 in Suffolk's 44 built libraries.

Six mobile libraries (plus a backup in case of breakdowns) make 630 stops fortnightly in 361 communities across the whole of Suffolk - predominantly in rural and isolated areas but also in areas with or near to library buildings.

Visits to mobile libraries have declined by 36,744 (32.46 per cent) over the last ten years and loans have decreased by 123,090 (37 per cent). Statistics in the past three years show a rise in borrowing.

The main proposals being consulted on are:
*Reducing the service from fortnightly to four weekly or monthly visits - as is the case in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire;
*Removing mobile library stops in parishes or towns which already have a library building.

If implemented, the proposals would save 225,000 of public money annually.

Suffolk County Council's Cabinet will decide on the way forward in November 2011.

Haverhill Online News

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