Hopes that Norfolk’s mobile libraries could be handed a reprieve to restore how often they visit villages around the county look set to be dashed.

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As part of a package of £167m of cuts, Norfolk County Council agreed in February to reduce the frequency of how often mobile libraries call at dozens of villages across the county.

That saw 31 routes changed, so mobile libraries only call once every four weeks rather than fortnightly, with council bosses saying that would save £109,000.

However, in March, the council backed a motion, by 40 votes to 30, from then Conservative leader Bill Borrett asking the Labour/Liberal Democrat cabinet to halt the cuts.

That motion said cuts should be put on ice while work was done to see if there were other ways to raise money to protect mobile libraries, such as by making them available to other services.

But, at a meeting next Monday, officers will recommend the cabinet sticks with its original decision.

Harold Bodmer, director of community services, said, in a report which will come before councillors: “A consequence of reverting to the previous frequency of visits is that £54,500 of planned saving would not be achieved.

“No opportunities have been identified that could offset this cost.”

He added the council faces £30m in costs after it voted last month to pull the plug on a deal with Cory Wheelabrator to build and run an incinerator at King’s Lynn.

He said any proposal to increase the budget for mobile libraries needed to take the council’s “reduced financial flexibility”, as it looks to replenish reserves, into account.

He added the council already works with partners, such as the NHS, St Hohn Ambulance and adult education, to provide services through mobile libraries, but that generated very little income.

• What do you think of mobile libraries? Tell us by writing, with full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

16 comments

  • Chris Booty- I'm afraid that NCC doesn't follow either logic or law so reducing the number of visits by the mobile library service or shutting local libraries shouldn't be too much of an issue for them. My personal view is that when cuts have to be made to local services the local library is very low down the list. The model I suggested of keeping reference libraries in major population centres would seem to meet the minimum definition of "comprehensive and efficient" quite well? For my part, I find the thought of keeping public libraries open when so many more important things are being restricted or pared to the bone due to budget cuts quite perverse. The days when one could argue that public libraries played an important educational role have diminished to such an extent that the need to keep public libraries open except for academic research is over. Of course for those people who like to read fiction the demise of the public library may be sad, and it is, but there are other ways of finding reading material other than keeping libraries open all over the county.

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    Bad Form

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

  • Bad Form - it's dangerous to follow the "luxury v necessity" argument, which usually boils down to a feeling of not wanting to pay towards servicew that one individual doesn't use themselves. In any case, the County Council has a statutory duty to provide a "comprehensive and efficient" public library service. I can't see the limited model for libraries you suggest meeting that.

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    Chris Booty

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

  • Bad Form I dont use mobile libraries but there are a lot of things my council tax subsidises that I dont approve of. DVDs of non factual material in libraries is one. I dont approve of the arts council grant for faffing about in Thetford Forest when it is obvious this spring that we are losing swathes of ash trees and the tax payers money would be better spent addressing the science to help.The council should be spending money where it helps the most. Spending on Coltishall and Postwick while they they are straining at the gnat of the mobile library...

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

  • I find, if I dont want to Kindle read, that the second hand book shop in Victoria Arcade GY is a better alternative than paying the library fines I seem to manage to run up. I havent looked at the library service web site, but free e reader down loads for library members of the books they hold on their shelves would seem to be a good plan. Library vans are a bit of an anachronism now-arrangements with village hall committees, the WI and schools to carry mini libraries, to aid with kindle down loads for those without broad band and to process applications for specific loans should be the way forward.Having said that, I suspect the mobile library users are a section of the community who pay council tax but get not much back .

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

  • There will always be some people who prefer to have the pleasure of reading something printed on paper but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a need which should be subsided by taxpayers. Given that the resources available to Norfolk County Council (NCC), are now so limited, the question comes down to is it a nice to have or a need to have? The answer, regrettably, is that it isn't a need and it is a luxury that compared to some other services must be placed very low down the list of priorities. Regardless of where the blame lies for the parlous state of NCC's finances the mobile library service should be dispensed with to save money. One could also argue that the NCC should only be obliged only to maintain reference libraries in Norwich, Kings Lynn and Gt Yarmouth and dispose of the rest. Whilst this will undoubtedly be unpopular with some people the leading question is how many people are the some?

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    Bad Form

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

  • Hey PaulH perhaps you could contact your darling Chloe Smith. Her and other MPs should be helping Norfolk out and getting the £30m lost over the incinerator back for the long delays Pickles caused. We might have money for libraries then!

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • Can we have a Tory led council back,whether you like them or not are good with balancing accounts.This "Rainbow "is a joke.on recond self imposed mega expenses.Labour,,Kippers and the Compost Crowd.good at spending other peoples money.

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    PaulH

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • Yes people like Borrett and most of the Tories are an absolute curse on Norfolk, aren't they?

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    Old Long Balls

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • Because Bill Borratt and his colleagues know that this is a political point, no more.

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    Marigold

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • The world has changed, we are in the age of technology, we have Kindles, we have the internet and it is utterly ridiculous to carry on trundling these huge gas guzzling buses around the countryside, for goodness sake why can't people like Borrett move on?

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    Old Long Balls

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • cameron can claim he is getting the deficit down by burdening local councils with the biggest cuts

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    Double Bill

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • Funny how Camoron is "proud" to be giving away £10 BILLION every year in foreign aid, yet there's "no money available" for basics like mobile libraries, care of the elderly, decent roads, reliable train service to London etc etc etc etc

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    Citizen of EUSSR

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • This council really is a joke, they blame the incinerator which would of cost a lot more if it had been allowed to go ahead, they need to stop spending and start looking at things. Sell the air field and stop the NDR to start with, get your house in order. Why are officers recommending things? It should be the portfolio holder who recommends to the cabinet who brings it to the council, it's a case of weak Councillors and bully boy officers.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • bill borrett and his conservative chums criticised but proposed no alternative

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    Double Bill

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • oh who still believes that blister ? george osborne is enforcing the spending cuts on the county councils. he found the money to create a tax break for married people, he found money for a tax break for the richest, and for free school meals for the richest families. the conservatives found money to throw away on an incinerator that no one wanted and buying raf coltishall.

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    Double Bill

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • Typical of Labour to make cuts to library services but then when they left government a labour treasury minister left a message for his successor saying that they were sorry but all the money had gone , they spent everything, proof that Labour left the country banrupt

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    blister

    Monday, May 5, 2014

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