ANGLESEY residents are being urged to have their say on proposals which could threaten the future of five Island libraries.
A public consultation on the County Council’s Draft Library Service Strategy 2017-2022 ends on Friday, September 22.
The draft strategy explores options including Area Libraries; Authority led Community Supported Libraries, Mobile Services and community access points.
Beaumaris, Cemaes, Moelfre, Newborough and Rhosneigr Libraries may be at risk of closure as they have the lowest number of annual visits, loans and computer sessions.
Anglesey’s head of learning Delyth Molyneux said, “We have seen a change in the way people use our libraries with an overall decline in physical library visits and number of items issued possibly due to technological advances.
“However, there is clear evidence that Anglesey residents want to safeguard key features, such as book lending, ICT provision, focus on helping children, young people and adults to improve skills and learn and the ability for the libraries to act as a community hub.”
“We believe that the draft strategy offers the best possible library provision for Anglesey residents. We’re proposing a future library service which focuses on Area Libraries, Authority led Community Supported Libraries, Mobile Services and potential community access points.”
She added, “If there is no support from the communities or other parties there is a possibility that libraries may close. What we mean by support is a willingness to help the Council, by either offering an alternative venue or taking over the costs of the current buildings.
”Our talks with communities and other partners about the possibility of developing local delivery models are still on-going.”
Last year, there were almost 300,000 visits to Anglesey’s 10 libraries and mobile library.
Education portfolio holder, Councillor Meirion Jones, is urging library users and potential library users to take part in the consultation.
“Our vision for the future is to ensure that Anglesey’s libraries are welcoming places to read, learn and discover.
“The Council is faced with significant financial challenges, and although our libraries are a hugely valued statutory community provision, we can no longer afford to run the service in its current form. With less money to spend on our libraries, we must transform the service and realise the budget savings needed.”
He added, “No decisions have been made on the future of the Island’s Library Service and we’re still very much open to the possibility of ‘community support’ models.
“I’d encourage Anglesey residents to respond to the consultation and give us their views before September 22.”
For more information: www.anglesey.gov.uk/librariesthewayforward