We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Save Our Mobile Libraries

November 29, 2017 5:22 PM

Photo of mobile library

Our Mobile Libraries Are Under Threat

The Conservatives on Norfolk County Council want to cut the mobile library service by £200,000 which is 40% of the budget for the service. Cliff Jordan, the Tory leader has said that the mobile libraries have 'had their day'.

Have mobile libraries really had their day?

The evidence would suggest otherwise.

There are 1568 mobile library stops across the county which are used by 7525 people. This is made up of:

All mobile users

District

No.

Breckland

1195

Broadland

1053

Great Yarmouth

289

King's Lynn and West Norfolk

1757

North Norfolk

1179

Norwich

465

South Norfolk

1567

Out of County

20

No/Invalid Postcode

300

7525

Almost twice as many more women use the mobile library service than men and twice as many people over 65 use the mobile library service than under 65.

Mobile Libraries are valued

Many people use mobile libraries because it's the only way they can borrow books. If stops are taken away it will be impossible for many people to go elsewhere. This is going to isolate people: the whole point of these stops is for people who don't have transport.

We have heard from users of the mobile libraries that the mobile library staff can be the only people they see during that week. Older people and people with mobility problems rely on these services to keep in touch. They are also the people who are least likely to have access to the Internet to buy or download books.

In Good Company

Norfolk County Council are currently running a campaign (January 2018) called in good company that's says no one should spend a lonely day in Norfolk if they don't want to.

The Council says that "thousands of people in Norfolk are lonely. Loneliness can cause poor health and even lead to premature death. It can make people vulnerable to scams and fraud and increase their reliance on public services.

But we also know that alleviating loneliness can help people lead independent, happier and healthier lives, for longer."

Liberal Democrats View

The Liberal Democrats will be campaigning to improve the mobile library service and will be pushing the Conservative administration on the County Council to reverse their proposed cuts. It affects our communities particularly the rural ones so heavily for a small amount of budget where a saving elsewhere can easily be found.

The In Good Company campaign is excellent and is addressing an important issue for so many in Norfolk. But yet again it is left hand and right hand at County Hall doing different things that hurt each other. Bearing in mind that a key element for this campaign is people aged 60 or over and we know that for some people the mobile library team can be the only people they will see that week. Removing the mobile library service will make them more lonely.

We need to support the elderly and the vulnerable in our communities.

How can you help? Sign Sarah Butikofer's petition at

https://www.change.org/p/norfolk-county-council-save-our-mobile-libraries

photo of Sarah Butikofer

The Future

The Liberal Democrats want a mobile library service that is truly valued by all as well as needed and mobiles can have a real future but they need to be reimagined. They need to work alongside the static branch library in a way that meets the needs of the local community and the people they serve without the fear of a budget cut over their head.