The ArgusMobile library services could be scrapped (From The Argus)

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Mobile library services could be scrapped

The Argus: An East Sussex County Council mobile library An East Sussex County Council mobile library

Mobile library services could be lost as part of moves to save more than £130,000.

East Sussex County Council is to decide whether to launch a consultation on planned changes to when and where the library visits.

The plans include combining stops in communities where the mobile library visits more than one site and which are a mile or less apart.

This would affect 17 stops in locations including Plumpton, Ticehurst, Horam, Camber and Crowhurst.

Visits to sheltered housing units and care settings would also be replaced by the council’s existing care home service and home library service.

The proposals, which would reduce the cost of the service by £131,600 from £259,600, include replacing the fortnightly schedule with a three-week rota.

Information gathered by the library service shows 46% per cent of the 1,700 customers using the mobile library also use ordinary libraries.

If the changes are made, the home library service would be promoted among customers who cannot easily use a library due to disability or frailty, or who are caring for someone who cannot be left alone.

A report to the council cabinet says: “It is recognised that mobile services are valued by the communities they serve and are used by elderly people and people with mobility issues.

“If changes are not made in mobile services, the potential for improved efficiency and savings will be lost, which will then have to be made back from the main library network.

“A detailed communications plan has been developed to ensure that high quality information is received by users, their relatives, and key stakeholders as early as possible and, if approved, consultation will be carried out in the summer for a period of three months.”

The mobile service consists of two large vans which offer the traditional library service of books, DVDs, spoken-word CDs and information to rural and urban locations.

There is also a smaller mobile office vehicle which acts as a council help point delivering access to council and other community services, computer training and internet access.

The libraries operate a fortnightly rota, visiting 127 stops and staying for approximately 20 minutes to an hour.

The mobile office runs a weekly schedule, visiting six locations in Telscombe Cliffs, Plumpton, Horam, Sovereign Harbour, Newick and Camber.

A decision about the consultation will be made by the cabinet at a meeting on April 22.

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