Kent County Council has today launch a public consultation on the future of the Libraries, Registration, and Archive Service which will run until midnight on 29th January 2019. There are 99 libraries in the county plus 5 mobile libraries which visit 368 locations across Kent including Hollingbourne Village Hall every other Wednesday at midday.
In the 2017-8 financial year the service cost £15,993,000 to operate including £11,328,000 of payroll costs. The service also generated some £6,300,000 of income to produce a net cost of £9,693,000 which equates to £5.60 per head of population based on a 2014 estimate of the population as 1,721,000.
Although the consultation runs until the end of January there will be a “drop in” session at the Kent History and Learning Centre from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday 2nd January 2019 in James Whatman Way, Maidstone ME14 1LQ. Other sessions are being held across the county on other days.
More information about the consultation is at https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/consult.ti/LRAStrategy/consultationHome
The 46 page key illustrated document which details proposed changes in the service including opening hours can be downloaded at: LRA_Strategy_Consultation-1.pdf (29 downloads)
Other documents including Equality Impact Assessments can be viewed via https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/consult.ti/LRAStrategy/consultationHome
The document seems to make no mention of any change in the Hollingbourne service although it is proposed to increase the opening hours of the Bearsted Library from 20 hours to 28 hours a week and Lenham from 18 hours to 28 per week. Most other libraries are having their hours cut in some cases drastically. It us understood that KCC wishes to reduce their expenditure on the Library service by around £1 million a year or to £5.05 per head of population.
Pictured below is the KCC Library Van at Hollingbourne Village Hall.