Members of the public are being invited to help Bath & North East Somerset Council write the next chapter for Midsomer Norton’s new modern library by giving their views on what they would like in the library.

The joint library and One Stop Shop in Keynsham – which opened in October 2014 – is already proving the success of the integrated modern library approach. The number of active users at Keynsham Library (those taking out at least one item) rose from 3,099 in March 2014 to 4,630 in March 2016; while the number of active users in other libraries – including Midsomer Norton and Bath – continued to decline.

In an attempt to replicate the success of Keynsham, and encourage even more people to use their local library, the Council is planning to move Midsomer Norton Library to a new, modern, refurbished location that combines library, council and partner services in the One Stop Shop in the Hollies.

Residents can share their feedback with the Council on what services they would most like to see and help shape how the new modern Midsomer Norton Library will look. The Council has prepared an example floor layout to give a better idea of how the new Midsomer Norton Library could look.

People can view the example design and also give their feedback by visiting: Copies of the feedback forms will also be available at the Midsomer Norton Library and One Stop Shop in the Hollies.

Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Midsomer Norton Library is being modernised to ensure residents can continue to access a modern library service – one that is both sustainable for the future and fits with the way in which people are now using libraries.

“Overall, the public space will be greater than the existing Midsomer Norton Library area, and the aim will be to maximise use of the space to meet the needs of both current and future library users. Therefore we’re keen to hear from everyone about what they would like to see in the new modern library.

“We’re taking these steps to ensure the modern Midsomer Norton Library and One Stop Shop both have a thriving future that is fit for the 21st Century. By co-locating our libraries with other community services we will not only provide a modern library service to residents but it will also help the Council towards achieving the large savings it has to make in the coming years.

“Whilst some councils are having to close libraries, we are seeking innovative solutions to keep all our libraries open and ensure they are sustainable for the future.”

All existing services will still be available in the new library:

  • There will continue to be quiet and study areas
  • Plenty of books will still be on shelves to browse and we will ensure popular titles are readily available
  • There will be more modern technology, better PCs, high speed WiFi
  • All three million books will still be available to order online and collect
  • The library will continue to host events and flexible meeting spaces as well as small exhibitions
  • Experienced staff will still be on hand to assist users.

The Council is also developing plans to work with local communities to keep all other libraries open and make them sustainable for the future, with further details of these plans to be published in the months ahead as they are finalised.

Bath & North East Somerset Council needs to save £49 million over four years. Modernising the library service will contribute £800,000 a year towards these savings by co-locating the libraries with other public services.