A survey seeking views on future library provision in communities around Aberdeenshire is now live.
As part of the Aberdeenshire Council’s budget-setting process, savings were identified for the library service and the possibility of the closure of some facilities in smaller villages was outlined.
Since then, Live Life Aberdeenshire has been working hard to look at alternative ways of achieving savings by taking a broader view of how library services are provided.
The needs of individual communities and how customers want to access services is at the forefront of this, as are opportunities to deliver services in different ways.
It is hoped that new opening hours, combined with a focus on what customers need from their library, can generate the savings required with minimal impact on community life.
For example, where communities identify a low requirement for physical library services, alternative provision such as postal services, services delivered from other local premises or outreach work could be considered.
Communities are encouraged to give their views on local libraries via the survey, which will then inform future decisions by councillors. Local focus groups will also be organised to seek face-to-face feedback.
In addition to this, library usage will be monitored in detail over the next year, including information such as visitors per hour.
Libraries and Information Services Manager, Sharon Jamieson, said: “We understand the role of libraries in our communities and how important they are to the people of Aberdeenshire.
“We also understand that the modern age means people’s needs in terms of library services is changing. Users, non-users, the voluntary sector, staff – all of these groups will have a chance to have their voice heard during this engagement process.”
The survey runs until the end of February and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ABSLIBRARIES