Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council

Working for Wye - past, present and future

Clerk: Debbie Baines
Parish Council Office, Unit 2B
Briar Close, Bramble Lane
Wye, Ashford, Kent TN25 5HB

Tel: 01233 812459

And now some good news…

And now some good news…

The opening hours for Wye Library are set to increase to 28 hours, from 19 hours a week at present. A current Kent County Council (KCC) consultation document proposes to open Wye Library for an extra nine hours per week. This unexpected and positive change is part of a county-wide realignment which will affect all 99 public libraries, the five register offices, and the county archives held at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone.

There is also good news for the whole of Kent in that the Libraries, Registration and Archives Draft Strategy 2019-2022 proposes to retain all of the 99 KCC libraries. This approach is in marked contrast to the closure of 700 libraries in other areas, however, the redistribution of resources now open for consultation, will result in more losers than winners in terms of opening hours.

Bockhanger Library for example stands to gain an extra two hours per week, Charing Library five hours, and Lenham ten hours, but KCC's strategy offsets these gains for community libraries with reductions and cost savings in the opening hours at all of the larger town libraries. In the case of Ashford, Canterbury and Maidstone KCC proposes a cut of 13 hours each per week, from 55 hours to 42.

Based on evidence of current use and demand for a range of services KCC applied five criteria to each library: the number of visits and loans per hour, and the percentage of unique users, public computer use and attendance at events. Then KCC calculated a combined usage score and ranked each library before assigning them to one of five new tiers.

Despite the limitations of its small size Wye Library is in the 'Community Plus' tier as KCC ranked it a remarkable 32nd place out of all 99 libraries. Tenterden Library ranked 30th, but the town has about three times the population of Wye. Wye Library scored particularly highly in the number of books issued per hour and computer use, but KCC did not include the relative deprivation and needs of the catchment area as a factor. Consequently, KCC ranked Stanhope 94th out of 99 and Sherwood 99th and these libraries now face cuts of 8 and 13 hours per week respectively.

The realignment of opening hours is only part of KCC's response to what cabinet member Cllr Mike Hill describes as 'the challenges of the financial climate and a rapidly changing county.' In response to this situation KCC's draft strategy identifies five overarching ambitions and adaptations that reflect current demands for the services. These include wider aims to ensure that public buildings will be used to their full potential to promote literacy, and able to support social prescribing and outreach specialist services. KCC plans to review the usage of each library every two years, and will adjust the tier and resources according to the score.

To take part in the LRA Draft Strategy 2019-2022 consultation please visit kent.gov.uk/lrastrategy and complete the online questionnaire. Alternatively, hard copies of the questionnaire are available from all Kent libraries, register offices and Gateways. Easy Read and Accessible Word versions and other formats of the draft strategy, questionnaire FAQ and other documents are available online from the 'Documents' section here.

Please note that KCC consultation will close this consultation at midnight Tuesday 29th January 2019.

Posted: Sun, 13 Jan 2019 22:30 by Parish Admin

Tags: Physical Infrastructure, Community Infrastructure, Wye Library, Consultation, Libraries, Registration and Archives Draft Strategy 2019-2022, Policy