I AM writing to you in response to Cllr Rose's recent communication about our library service. In his letter he makes several proposals to increase revenue. He suggested we introduce coffee shops, rent out rooms, store less popular books (80% of stock) on other sites. Charge for tutoring, job classes, the baby 'Wriggle and Rhyme' and children's reading clubs.

In the neighbouring borough of Poole, I understand that Rossmore and Hamworthy libraries have cafes. Now that the delivery of our libraries function is merged with our neighbours, we will be able to develop a similar approach in Bournemouth, if the numbers stack up and the service could be right for a particular library.

Many libraries in Bournemouth already have co-located services e.g, Bournemouth has the Citizens Advice Bureau and Kinson the Aspire Adoption Agency. Five successful Job Clubs operate from libraries. Many already let space to local businesses.

In one year our Bournemouth libraries receive 1.6m visits, 1.5m items are borrowed and 350,000 research questions are answered. WIFI is available and PC use is 140,000 hours each year, providing services to those who do not have the necessary equipment at home.

Baby 'wriggle and rhyme', children's reading clubs and book groups are free and continue to support all members of our community.

Following my recent appointment to Cabinet one of my first duties was to oversee the final stages of the merger of the Poole and Bournemouth Library service. This is now near completion and is on course to save £500,000 p.a. I am particularly proud that this will be achieved without closing a single library or incurring any reduction in library opening hours.

Balancing a service within the necessary fiscal limits is always challenging but please be assured your council will continue to strive to provide the best possible service at the lowest cost to you, the council tax payers.


Bournemouth Town Hall