Digital changes to help save Somerset libraries £500,000

Free wi-fi and improved computer facilities are to be introduced to Somerset’s libraries as part of modernisation and cost saving for the service.

The changes have been approved by Cabinet Members of Somerset County Council and are hoped to save £472,000 in the financial year 2015/16.

The proposals received high levels of public support during a 10 week consultation period with over 3,000 members of the public to inform the council’s strategy.

Around 80% of those who took part in the consultation process believe that more needs to be done to take advantage of digital innovations; in response the council has determined that computer use in libraries should be free, as well as the installation of free wi-fi in all libraries.

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries said: “The significant level of response reflects the effort that was made to raise awareness of the proposed changes.

The fact that every proposal was supported by the majority of the respondents highlights the quality engagement undertaken by officers before any proposals were considered so that the views of library users could be understood fully.

While some of the decisions have been difficult, we should save nearly £500,000 over the coming financial year with minimal disruption to our customers.”

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