Future of Windsor & Maidenhead libraries to be ‘carefully considered’

LIBRARY closures and changes are to be ‘carefully considered’ after almost 1,000 people respond to the council’s consultation.

The Royal Borough launched a 12-week survey to residents’ views into developing service into a digital offer for residents to access online and potential closures and change of hours.

Conservative cabinet councillors agreed for a consultation, which ran from February 6 to April 30, to commence as part of their transformation strategy where they will make a final decision on the future of the libraries in June.

This could involve closing four libraries, including Boyn Grove, Old Windsor, Datchet, and Sunninghill.

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Just shy of over 1,000 responses were received and included 38 engagement sessions with the public, parish councils, trustees, stakeholders, and the Girls’ Policy Forum.

Respondents were asked to prioritise their top 10 library services from a list of 20. A total of 914 people responded to this question.

The results show that an online digital offer alone cannot meet the reading and learning, health and wellbeing, or creativity needs of communities and cabinet will consider these outcomes.

Feedback will be analysed and reviewed ahead of making final recommendations to cabinet.

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Councillor Samantha Rayner, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for corporate and resident services, culture, and heritage, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation. The feedback will be carefully considered and will inform any decisions we make regarding the future of our library service.

“We wanted to understand what was important to our residents as this will help the council with how we shape our libraries going forward and has highlighted what services they value the most.

“These are exciting times for our libraries. We have seen how their usage has changed during the last year. The council has a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service that meets the needs of residents and the level of engagement in the consultation shows how highly regarded ours is in the community.”

Royal Borough Observer | Windsor