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Your Voice Matters

Shape the vision for the future of Nottingham City Library Services by participating in our 12-week public consultation, running from 28 May to 19 August 2024.

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Nottingham City Council Budget Savings 2024/25

Nottingham City Council face a budget gap of over £50m for 2024/25 due to issues facing councils across the country including increased demand for children’s and adults’ social care, rising homelessness presentations and inflation.

This has meant savings of over £36m need to be made between 2024/25 to 2027/28 in order to set a balanced budget, which is a legal requirement for all councils.

Your voice matters

About the Library Public Consultation

As part of the savings Nottingham City Libraries need to save £1.5m over the next 2 years. This amounts to just over 38% of the library services existing budget. It’s a daunting challenge, one that demands not just belt-tightening, but a reimagining of how library services are delivered to the citizens of Nottingham.

Nottingham City Council has a legal duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all those who live, work or study in the City (Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964).

Currently, Nottingham has 15 library buildings, including the brand-new Central Library. But in the face of budget challenges, the Council is proposing significant changes to this landscape. The plan on the table, subject to a 12 week public consultation beginning this May, aims to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ensure the sustainability of the library service.

No decisions have been made and we welcome alternative suggestions or different ways to make savings.

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Proposal for delivering savings and maintaining an efficient library service

To find out more about the consultation before you take part, we suggest that you read the proposals and  answers to frequently asked questions in our FAQs.

Despite the proposed changes, Nottingham City Council remains committed to delivering a comprehensive and efficient library experience.

  • Eleven libraries, with ten libraries open on at least 5 days a week
  • Brand new modern, bright Central Library
  • Commitment to retaining libraries in joint service centres
  • Activities and events across the network and online
  • Book loans, eBooks, eAudio books, eMagazines and newspapers
  • Free WiFi and computer access across the network
  • Skilled and specialist staff available to help
  • Welcoming, safe, warm spaces accessible to all
  • Study space across the network
  • Brand new Sherwood Library (Summer 2024)
  • Home Library Service
  • Bookstart Offer
  • Nottingham Performing Arts Library

Looking Forward: Ambitions for Tomorrow
Though the economic circumstances are difficult right now, things may improve in the future. Long-term goals include fostering partnerships, building a robust volunteer network, expanding the digital offer, and exploring technology-enabled solutions for increased accessibility.

Why are changes being proposed to Nottingham Library Services?

Nottingham City Council faces an unprecedented situation and must make significant financial savings across its services. Nottingham City Libraries need to save £1.5m over the next 2 years. This amounts to just over 38% of the library services existing budget. This will require us considering how library services are delivered to the citizens of Nottingham.

What might the library service in Nottingham look like? 

The option to be considered at consultation is just a proposal at this stage and no decisions have been made on what the library service will look like in the future; the responses to this consultation will help inform decisions that will be taken by the Council, after the completion of the consultation.

Nottingham City Council remains committed to delivering a comprehensive and efficient library service that is sustainable. We will be providing a core number of libraries which are open at least 5 days a week, a brand new, modern Central Library, commitment to retaining joint service centres, skilled and specialist staff available to help, welcoming, safe, warm spaces accessible to all with book loans, eBooks & audiobooks, study space and free Wi-Fi and computer access.

What will happen to library buildings if they are closed and are there alternative services I can use?

If the building is closed as a library, Nottingham City Council will look to dispose of the building, although in certain cases we do need to consider storage requirements for specific collections.

You will continue to be able to use all other libraries in the City and County and access the library service through the online and home library services. Within this proposal, if accepted, 73% of households would remain within a 20 min walk of a library or have access to alternative libraries through good public transport links.

How have the libraries proposed to close been selected?

Any decision to close a library will be based on a number of factors including the criteria below: Library usage, geographical spread across the city, the current condition of buildings, running costs, access and transport links and taking into account Equality Impact Assessments prior to making any decisions.

We will be listening to and considering all the responses from the public consultation.

What if my community wants to set up a community led library?             

We want to work with local people to find flexible and sustainable ways of providing library services. One of the options may be for the community to take over the running of the library building. As

What other options have been considered?        In developing the proposal for consultation, a number of other options were been explored.

These include:

  • Closure of fewer libraries – Unfortunately the necessary saving could not be made.
  • Significant reduction in opening hours – Research from other authorities who adopted this model shows it created confusion and uncertainty over when a library is open, leading to people assuming they are closed. Usage then drops, which can amount to library closure by default and would not make the necessary budget saving.
  • Technology Enabled Opening (TEO) – Leads to a loss of specialist staff skills and available support and advice. Creates equality and access issues. The investment costs to implement the technology mean the required budget savings could not be met.
  • Outsourcing Libraries – This is something that could be explored in the future but would not ensure savings are met in the timescale required.
  • Don’t reopen Sherwood library – Sherwood Library is well placed on a major transport route helping to improving access to the library network and was developed with external funding.
  • Use of volunteers across the network replacing paid library staff – Leads to a loss of specialist staff skills and available support and advice. Nottingham City Council plans to continue to develop volunteer support in addition to paid library staff, however creating an efficient, effective and reliable volunteer network takes time.

How can I find out more and have my say?   

The public consultation on the proposed changes to libraries in Nottingham is running from 28 May to 19 August 2024.

More information and a consultation questionnaire is available and we encourage everyone who lives, works or studies in Nottingham to take part, library and non-library users. The survey can be translated into multiple different languages, there is also a young person’s version and all Nottingham City libraries will also have paper copies available.

Please look on the website for details of the public consultation sessions you can attend.

Taking Part: Join the Conversation

As the consultation period kicks off, Nottingham City Libraries emphasizes that every opinion counts.  No decisions have been made and we welcome alternative suggestions. Our 12-week consultation will involve working with organisations and networks across the city to ensure everyone has the opportunity to engage both digitally and in person.

Public Sessions

During June we will also be running a series of online and  in-person consultation sessions.

Attendance registration is not required at the in-person sessions.

A BSL Interpreter will be present at the Council House session.

We want our consultations to be as accessible as possible.

  • If you require a survey in large text, or need anything else in order to participate in this consultation please let us know at engage@nottinghamcity.gov.uk
  • There will be a sign language interpreter at one of the in-person engagement events
  • Hard copies of this survey are available at all of our libraries, just ask at the reception desk at your local library and one will be printed for you.  Find a Library | Nottingham City Libraries
  • You can also download and print the survey yourself. Click here to download a PDF of the Consultation Survey. Click here for a PDF version of the Young Person’s Survey.

The following short video shows how you can translate the survey into another language. Answers submitted in an alternative language to English will be translated our end using Google Translate.

If you have any questions or require further assistance, please get in touch.

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