Free wi-fi and computer usage is coming to Burnham-On-Sea Library as part of a raft of changes announced for Somerset’s Library Service this week.
80% of respondents to a library consultation survey said more should be done to inspire all to take advantage of the digital age.
Therefore, charges for using computers in libraries will be removed from 1st April 2015 and free wi-fi will be installed in all Somerset libraries, including in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge.
However, other changes will see withdrawing and combining a number of mobile library stops from August.
“Before any mobile library stops are withdrawn, people who may be affected will be supported to access alternative library facilities through community meetings and face-to-face support,” said a spokesman.
“120 mobile library stops which are within half a mile of each other will be combined while 17 stops which support residential homes and sheltered housing will instead be supported by the Home Library outreach service.”
The council will also discontinue the purchase of music CDs in order to phase out music CD lending.
These changes were approved by Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Members this week and will contribute towards savings of £472,000 for the next financial year.
Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries said: “I’d like to thank everyone who responded to the consultation about these changes. 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.”
“Every comment was considered before these final proposals were agreed and put before Cabinet Members. 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.”
An increase in funding of £10,000 per year for the Home Library Service and a new contract with the Royal Voluntary Service, beginning on 1st April 2015, will ensure Somerset’s most vulnerable can still access library services, says the council.