FREE wi-fi and computer usage and an extra £10,000 a year for outreach library services are among changes being made to Somerset’s Library Service.

The initiatives, approved by Somerset County Council’s cabinet today (Monday, March 2), will help save £472,000 in the year from April.

They follow a 10-week consultation completed by over 3,000 people, who submitted over 6,000 comments.

Nearly 80% of respondents agreed that more should be done to embrace the digital age, with charges for using computers in libraries axed next month and free wi-fi installed in all libraries.

Over 90% supported developing outreach library services for vulnerable people or those at risk of becoming isolated.

An increase in funding of £10,000 per year for the Home Library Service and a new contract with the Royal Voluntary Service, will ensure the most vulnerable can still access library services.

Other changes approved include withdrawing and combining a number of mobile library stops from August and phasing out music CD lending.

Cllr David Hall, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said: “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.”