As part of the library service redesign proposal, Hollingbury Library was due to be closed with the children’s collection going to Hollingbury Children’s Centre and everybody else needing to go to Patcham library. It was proposed that some senior and less mobile residents might receive a home delivery service.
During the consultation process, Patcham Councillors Lee Wares and Geoffrey and Carol Theobald suggested that as well as the plan for the Children’s Centre, the library service should consider using The Old Boat Corner Community Centre just down from the existing library.
It has today been published that Hollingbury will now retain a full library service across the Children’s and Community Centres. The proposal also means that computers will be available for the public to use, a full collection of books for all age groups remains in Hollingbury and that a library service will now be increased from 3 days a week to 7 days a week. Library staff will also be available one day a week to support volunteers whereas before, there would be no staff.
Cllr Lee Wares said “This is great news for Hollingbury residents. Not only has a full service been retained but accessibility has been increased by an extra 4 days. Also, by sharing with the Old Boat Corner Community Centre, residents will have access to a café and comfortable space and more pleasant surroundings”. He added “What better way to visit the library especially in the summer, every day of the week; you can choose a book, get a coffee and sit by the park”.
Cllr Geoffrey Theobald commented “We are delighted that the Council listened to our proposal and thank them. As we have said many times before, reducing costs doesn’t have to mean cutting services. With innovation and collaborative working with the community, not only is it possible to retain a full service but in this case, offer a better and increased one”.
Cllr Carol Theobald said “We very much appreciate the support of the management team at the Old Boat Corner Community Centre who have welcomed our idea from the start with great energy and commitment. It did concern us that our senior and less mobile residents would suffer the most from the original proposal. Now we have a better solution that will in turn provide opportunity for access to more information, better facilities and ability to socialise”.
The Hollingbury Children’s Centre is also to retain the present level of health and care services for families in the area with the added benefit of a library service aimed at children, parents and carers. The new proposal also means that Patcham library will increase its opening times from 3 full days and 2 half days to 7 full days a week.
The proposal goes before Economic and Culture Committee on the 10th March and then to Full Council for Councillors to agree its adoption.