The County Council replies...

The County Librarian has replied to our questions about the future of Summertown Library.  We can't put up the rather large files attached, but email if you want more details.

'Thank you for your email about Summertown Library. I apologise that it has taken a while to respond; we have received a great deal of correspondence about the library service

I have responded to each of your questions below:

1. The proposals refer to financial considerations up to the year 2015.  (a) Have you considered library use beyond that date?  (b) Are you making permanent strategic proposals about the library service based on no more than four years' forward planning?
The County Council undertakes service and resource planning on a 4 year rolling cycle, and the current proposals for libraries reflect this cycle. The proposals for libraries set out a permanent and strategic response to the future provision of public library services in Oxfordshire.

2. What would be the financial saving to the County Council of closing Summertown Library?
I am attaching details of the cost of running Summertown Library based on 2009-10 expenditure. [Summertown Reader adds: to oversimplify, the Library costs something over £150,000 p.a. to run, and generates over £30,000 p.a. in fines and charges].

3. The proposals do not include any suggestions about reducing library expenditure other than closing libraries.  What was the rationale for not proposing other measures to reduce library expenditure (such as, for instance, reducing opening hours)?

6. What was the rationale behind the welcome proposal to keep open Cowley Library, in contrast to the other suburban Oxford city libraries?
Cowley services a number of relatively deprived areas in the City and for this reason and to provide a spread of service in the City, it is proposed to retain funding for Cowley Library.

7. The Oxford Mail reports that the proposals are intended to save £2million over the four years 2011 to 2015.  Is this correct? (Reference:

This is correct. Projected savings year by year are:

2011/12 - £406k
2012/13 - £1.334m
2013/14 - £240k
2014/15 - £20k

Yours sincerely

Caroline Taylor
County Librarian'
In preparing these proposals, the County Council considered and rejected, reductions in opening hours, reducing expenditure on books and other materials and cessation of the mobile library service. The current proposals include substantial reductions in senior and middle management, together with librarian posts.
Reductions in opening hours were rejected because:
a)     the reduction required to make sufficient savings were judged to be too great (30-40%);
b)     reductions in opening hours have an immediate impact on levels of use, especially in busy town and city libraries where the impact on service users is disproportionate;
c)      additional savings in management and librarian posts are more difficult to achieve as the network of 43 libraries continues to require adequate support.
Reductions in book expenditure were rejected because the impact on service users and overall library use was judged to be too severe; poor stock provision is a key reason given by stakeholders for non, or lapsed library use.

Cessation of the mobile library service was rejected as the option of providing access to library services through mobile provision in a rural county was judged to be essential.

4.  The proposals suggest extended electronic library services.  How will this benefit people who do not have access to the internet at home, including those who currently rely on Summertown Library for internet access?
Extension to electronic services will not benefit those without internet access.

4. Public transport link were a factor in formulating the proposals. (a) What public transport figures have been used?  (b) Is this based on current provision of public transport, or does it include potential public transport provision in the future?
Summertown, is one of a number of libraries in Oxford for which it is proposed that funding will cease. Summertown was identified as such because of its close proximity to the Central Library in Oxford and the availability of public transport into the city centre. This assessment is based on current provision of public transport.

5.  (a) What usage figures have been used in formulating the proposals?  (b) What are the usage figures for Summertown Library?  (c) How can these usage figures be made available to users of Summertown Library?
The usage figures for Summertown Library are attached. The figures are visitors and issues for the year 2009-10. For information, I am also attaching visitor and issue figures for 2009-10 for all Oxfordshire Libraries. [Summertown Reader adds:  these figures show 122,400 visits, and 139,957 items borrowed.]