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Gateshead's library users invited to share views on proposed changes to library service

Library consultation without text 2021

We are encouraging library users to help shape the future of their local library service by taking part in a public consultation on proposed changes. Under the new proposals, some library buildings would be transformed into community spaces that bring together key council services, voluntary and community organisations and neighbourhood groups.

We currently operate eight libraries across Gateshead, offering a wide range of books, free computer access, and online resources, as well as hosting regular events. In response to significant cuts in Government grants to councils it is necessary to explore opportunities to do things differently both to improve reach and outcomes whilst also reducing the level of subsidy for all council services, including libraries.

Even before the pandemic there were significant changes in the ways that local library services were used; with falling user numbers and the increasing popularity of digital lending, which can be accessed anywhere, the service must evolve to remain cost-effective and better meet the needs of local communities.

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health at Gateshead Council said:

"Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to get closer to the communities we serve has become very apparent. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the reality of the challenges faced by many of our residents. Consequently, we know we need to be doing more to reduce inequality and part of this is through improving equitable local access to the services that matter to our residents.

"Our library buildings are well placed geographically, and as part of Gateshead Council's Health and Wellbeing Strategy, we are proposing to adapt some of our libraries into community spaces which will offer the broader range of opportunities and support that local people want in their community. 

"Of course, we will still operate a library function, but we want to make much better use of these buildings.

"While precise services are yet to be defined, each community space will be different, with the available services, activities and programmes reflecting the need of local communities."

Libraries currently being considered as community spaces are those located in: Chopwell, Crawcrook, Leam Lane, Pelaw and Wrekenton.

The proposed changes would see Gateshead Council enter into partnership arrangements with local community and voluntary organisations, who will bring their expertise and specialisms to support the running of these community spaces. In addition, to improve reach, library staff will offer library services in other community buildings, as well as support outreach work.

Councillor Angela Douglas, Cabinet Member for Culture Sport and Leisure, Gateshead Council added:

"Our vision is that by transforming our library service in the way that's being proposed, we will be better equipped to offer a broader range of services locally, many of which provide a vital lifeline for residents, while making the necessary cost savings.

'We want more people who currently don't use our libraries to be accessing the buildings, and a different delivery model will help us achieve this.

"I would strongly urge all library users to take the opportunity during the consultation period to provide their feedback on the proposals and let us know their opinions and ideas on how we can improve your library service."

The public consultation begins on Monday 25 October 2021 and will run for 12 weeks, closing on Friday 16 January 2022.

Library users can complete the questionnaire online or pick up a printed version from any library. 

Complete the consultation questionnaire online

The proposal does not include Gateshead Central Library and Archive, or the libraries at Blaydon and Birtley, which will continue to be operated by Gateshead Council. It also does not mean a reduction in staff or the closure of any library sites.

To enable library users to ask questions regarding the consultation process and the future of library services, the council are hosting a series of drop-in sessions:

  • Monday 15 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Birtley Library                  
  • Tuesday 16 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Gateshead Central Library  
  • Wednesday 17 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Blaydon Library               
  • Thursday 18 November, 10 to 11.30am at Pelaw Library
  • Saturday 20th November, 10 to 11.30am at Crawcrook Library           
  • Monday 22 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Leam Lane Library           
  • Thursday 25 November, 10 to 11.30am at Chopwell Library                                                                                        
  • Thursday 25 November, 5 to 6.30pm at Gateshead Central Library
  • Friday 26 November, 10 to 11.30am at Blaydon Library               
  • Saturday 27 November, 10 to 11.30am at Pelaw Library
  • Monday 29 November, 10 to 11.30am at Gateshead Central Library
  • Tuesday 30 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Crawcrook Library           
  • Wednesday 1 December, 10 to 11.30am at Birtley Library
  • Thursday 2 December, 2 to 3.30pm at Chopwell Library
  • Saturday 4 December, 10 to 11.30am at Leam Lane Library           

 

Library consultation without text 2021
25 October 2021

We are encouraging library users to help shape the future of their local library service by taking part in a public consultation on proposed changes. Under the new proposals, some library buildings would be transformed into community spaces that bring together key council services, voluntary and community organisations and neighbourhood groups.

We currently operate eight libraries across Gateshead, offering a wide range of books, free computer access, and online resources, as well as hosting regular events. In response to significant cuts in Government grants to councils it is necessary to explore opportunities to do things differently both to improve reach and outcomes whilst also reducing the level of subsidy for all council services, including libraries.

Even before the pandemic there were significant changes in the ways that local library services were used; with falling user numbers and the increasing popularity of digital lending, which can be accessed anywhere, the service must evolve to remain cost-effective and better meet the needs of local communities.

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health at Gateshead Council said:

"Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to get closer to the communities we serve has become very apparent. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the reality of the challenges faced by many of our residents. Consequently, we know we need to be doing more to reduce inequality and part of this is through improving equitable local access to the services that matter to our residents.

"Our library buildings are well placed geographically, and as part of Gateshead Council's Health and Wellbeing Strategy, we are proposing to adapt some of our libraries into community spaces which will offer the broader range of opportunities and support that local people want in their community. 

"Of course, we will still operate a library function, but we want to make much better use of these buildings.

"While precise services are yet to be defined, each community space will be different, with the available services, activities and programmes reflecting the need of local communities."

Libraries currently being considered as community spaces are those located in: Chopwell, Crawcrook, Leam Lane, Pelaw and Wrekenton.

The proposed changes would see Gateshead Council enter into partnership arrangements with local community and voluntary organisations, who will bring their expertise and specialisms to support the running of these community spaces. In addition, to improve reach, library staff will offer library services in other community buildings, as well as support outreach work.

Councillor Angela Douglas, Cabinet Member for Culture Sport and Leisure, Gateshead Council added:

"Our vision is that by transforming our library service in the way that's being proposed, we will be better equipped to offer a broader range of services locally, many of which provide a vital lifeline for residents, while making the necessary cost savings.

'We want more people who currently don't use our libraries to be accessing the buildings, and a different delivery model will help us achieve this.

"I would strongly urge all library users to take the opportunity during the consultation period to provide their feedback on the proposals and let us know their opinions and ideas on how we can improve your library service."

The public consultation begins on Monday 25 October 2021 and will run for 12 weeks, closing on Friday 16 January 2022.

Library users can complete the questionnaire online or pick up a printed version from any library. 

Complete the consultation questionnaire online

The proposal does not include Gateshead Central Library and Archive, or the libraries at Blaydon and Birtley, which will continue to be operated by Gateshead Council. It also does not mean a reduction in staff or the closure of any library sites.

To enable library users to ask questions regarding the consultation process and the future of library services, the council are hosting a series of drop-in sessions:

  • Monday 15 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Birtley Library                  
  • Tuesday 16 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Gateshead Central Library  
  • Wednesday 17 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Blaydon Library               
  • Thursday 18 November, 10 to 11.30am at Pelaw Library
  • Saturday 20th November, 10 to 11.30am at Crawcrook Library           
  • Monday 22 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Leam Lane Library           
  • Thursday 25 November, 10 to 11.30am at Chopwell Library                                                                                        
  • Thursday 25 November, 5 to 6.30pm at Gateshead Central Library
  • Friday 26 November, 10 to 11.30am at Blaydon Library               
  • Saturday 27 November, 10 to 11.30am at Pelaw Library
  • Monday 29 November, 10 to 11.30am at Gateshead Central Library
  • Tuesday 30 November, 2 to 3.30pm at Crawcrook Library           
  • Wednesday 1 December, 10 to 11.30am at Birtley Library
  • Thursday 2 December, 2 to 3.30pm at Chopwell Library
  • Saturday 4 December, 10 to 11.30am at Leam Lane Library           

 

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