A 12-WEEK consultation on the future of Somerset’s libraries has started today.

Members of the public, businesses and organisations are all invited to have their say on the future delivery of services.

Proposed options for each of Somerset’s 34 libraries can be viewed on the county council’s website by clicking here.

The nine summaries online give details of library usage, area information and other relevant statistics. Further information is available online at the same site setting out details of the rationale behind the proposals.

Respondents are asked to view the area proposal for the library they visit most often before completing an online questionnaire.

READ: Reaction to Somerset Libraries consultation plans

The questionnaire asks respondents if they are aware of the breadth of library services available, feedback on the proposed options for the library area they visit most often and to suggest ideas on how library services could be delivered in future.

Options put forward propose no change for 12 library buildings. A total of 15 may require community support to remain open. For another seven, there may be no change or community involvement might be needed.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation, a comprehensive, modern and thriving library service will continue to be delivered across Somerset either through library buildings, outreach services in community venues or through additional mobile library stops, the council says.

Councillor David Hall, cabinet member for resources and economic development at Somerset County Council, said: “Libraries are a hugely important part of life here in Somerset and I urge everyone to have their say on shaping the future library service. Like many authorities we continue to face challenging financial times, but I stress this consultation is not all about saving money. It’s about bringing the service up to date and making it sustainable for the future.

“We want to know what residents want so we can best match that to our resources. No decisions have been made on the future shape of the library service and I urge people to have their say.”

The consultation is open for 12 weeks, ending Sunday on Sunday, April 22. People can complete it online, attend a drop-in event or visit their local library.

Some libraries will also be holding small hour-long group discussions during the specified drop-in time. Check out ‘drop-in events’ online for further information or ask library staff.

The 12 libraries where there are no proposed changes include: Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Langport, Minehead, Taunton, Wells, Williton, Wincanton and Yeovil

Within the proposals the 15 libraries where community support may be required include: Bishops Lydeard, Bruton, Castle Cary, Highbridge, Milborne Port, Nether Stowey, North Petherton, Porlock, Priorswood (Taunton), Somerton, South Petherton, Street, Sunningdale (Yeovil), Watchet and Wiveliscombe.

The seven libraries highlighted in the proposals where they may remain unchanged or may require community support include: Cheddar, Crewkerne, Dulverton, Ilminster, Martock, Shepton Mallet and Wellington.

The library drop-in events are as follows

  • Bishops Lydeard Village Hall - Wednesday 7 February, 2.30pm - 5pm
  • Bruton/Castle Cary* - Castle Cary Market House - 14 March, 2.30pm-5.30pm
  • Cheddar Library - Friday 23 March, 2.30pm-5.30pm
  • Crewkerne Henhayes Centre - Friday 9 March, 10am-1pm
  • Dulverton Library - Thursday 8 February, 10am-1pm
  • Highbridge Library - Thursday 15 February, 10am-1pm
  • Ilminster Library - Saturday 10 February, 9.30am-12.30pm
  • Martock/South Petherton - Martock Library -  28 February, 10am-1pm
  • Milborne Port - Village Hall - Tuesday 6 March, 2.30pm-5.30pm
  • Nether Stowey Library - Wednesday 14 February, 2pm-5pm
  • North Petherton Community Centre - Monday 12 February, 10am-1pm
  • Shepton Mallet Library - Tuesday 27 February, 2.30pm-5.30pm
  • Somerton Library - Saturday 17 February, 9.30am-12.30pm
  • Street Library - Thursday 8 March, 10am-1pm
  • Taunton (Priorswood) Library - Tuesday 13 February, 2pm-5pm
  • Watchet Library - Wednesday 7 February, 2pm-5pm
  • Wellington Library - Saturday 17 February, 10am-1pm
  • Wiveliscombe Library - Wednesday 21 February, 2pm-5pm
  • Yeovil (Sunningdale) Monmouth Hall - Friday 9 March, 9.30am-12.30pm