I’ve heard the Council are looking to close the Library. Is that right?
No. There is not a proposal being made to close Neyland Library. The Council will be seeking the views of the public on Monday evening about the future of Council owned buildings in Neyland. They have a specific proposal to consult people on as far as the library is concerned and that is;
‘What about incorporating Neyland Library in the new Neyland Community Hub?’
The Council haven’t decided to do it but they are considering doing it – hence people are going to be asked for their views.
Why would you move the library into the new Hub?
There are some good reasons why, on paper, this looks like it might be a good idea.
- Co-locating services is generally considered a good thing. Placing the Library within the hub will expose the library to more people (those that will be visiting the hub for other things) and crucially will also put the library right next to Neyland Community School – allowing the children there to make more regular use of the Library.
- As a town, Neyland will enjoy the benefits of a newly built library. That includes the deployment of the latest technology. By incorporating ‘self-service’ technology, for example, the library can operate as normal when the librarian is working but actually be open for a book loan / return all of the time the Hub is open. This will mean the library being open much longer hours that currently.
- The library service and customer contact centre (the two component parts of the current library) continue to face massive budget pressures. This move would help to safeguard the future of Library service in Neyland – more about that below.
- Neyland would benefit from a brand new Library.
Why is this coming up now?
Pembrokeshire Council is conducting a review of all its buildings in every town. They are calling this their ‘Access to Services’ review. Council Officers have already determined that Neyland should be what they call a tier 3 town and that means;
‘Services could be provided in conjunction with the community, from mobile facilities (e.g. Mobile Library) or not at all’
They informally polled county councillors on whether that was the right classification for Neyland at a recent seminar and only 30% of those present disagreed.
This means that whether it is today or in 2 years time the County Council will almost certainly be looking for the services in Neyland to; be provided in conjunction with the community (that’s the hub option), be provided from mobile facilities or not be provided at all. By taking the initiative – co-locating the library with the Hub – we can safeguard Neyland’s library provision for the next generation.
What’s the library going to look like if it goes up to the Hub?
The honest answer is we don’t exactly know yet but what we do know is;
- The library will be a dedicated space
- It will be in addition to the space currently proposed for the Hub
- It will effectively be a library building within the Hub facility
- It will not be some I’ll thought out add on and will not have to share the core library space with anything or anyone else.
An initial sketch was produced (see below) but there’s a lot more design work to do before anything could be built.
What about paying council bills, we currently do that in the Library?
The current thinking is that the council would contract with the post office to allow anyone who wants to pay bills to do so there. This has the added benefit of supporting our town post office and getting people through the door for them. It’s been done very successfully in a number of other communities across Pembrokeshire.
That’s all the detail we have for now, the council may offer more detail tomorrow night. The meeting starts at 7. Please do come along if your interested in hearing more or having your say on the proposals.