New county library service set to start

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HAMPSHIRE’s mobile library service will change from July 4.

The service, which brings books to thousands of people living in small towns and villages without their own libraries, will be cut from more than 1,200 stops to 365.

The measure will save Hampshire County Council more than £500,000 a year, but has also been designed because the council discovered visits to mobile library stops had dropped 23 per cent in the last 5 years.

Its leader for for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman said: ‘The new service is a result of two extensive public consultations and will save more than £500,000 a year. But this wasn’t only about saving money, it was about making the service fit for the 21st century as it had not been reviewed in over 20 years.’

In November and December last year, 2,400 people took part in the consultation about the service, and a final decision was taken in March this year.

The new system will see four vehicles cover the county, stopping at all villages situataed more than two miles from the nearest static library.

Their frequency will drop from once a fortnight to once every four weeks.

But after 12 months, if there have been fewer than 10 people per stop, the stop will be withdrawn.