Shenfield and Ingatestone Libraries to remain open after a direct interventions by local County Councillors, Cllr. Louise McKinlay and Lesley Wagland.
After meetings with the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member where both Louise McKinlay and Lesley Wagland impressed the importance of the local libraries and following a 12-week consultation where residents were asked what they thought of the service and its buildings, it has been announced today that both Shenfield and Ingatestone Libraries will remain open.
The survey of residents was held after it was revealed that book lending was dramatically declining year on year across the county.
Just over 20,000 people across Essex replied and it shows that people have reignited their love for libraries with many communities offering to get involved in running and improving the service in our library buildings in the future.
Cllr. McKinlay said: “I am thrilled with the result, which is absolutely the right one! I have had a number of discussions with the Leader and Cabinet Member, where we discussed the importance and future of our local libraries in Shenfield and Ingatestone. While completely understanding the challenges faced with new and emerging technologies such as e-books and music, we now have a great opportunity to update the service and look at how more people can benefit from the community facility. The consultation has seen people rally behind their local libraries and I will continue to work on plans to increase the use of Shenfield Library as we modernise our offer.”
Plans to invest millions of pounds are now being drawn up to ensure that all libraries keep pace with fast moving technologies. As more and more people turn to e-books, apps and websites, so Essex will look to bolster the service and be the go to brand for internet books, music as well as looking at how else the building can be used to bring together other organisations under one roof to help and assist residents.
Cllr Wagland added, “ It was clear through discussions with residents that the Libraries are used for so much more than just borrowing books and some great ideas have come forward from residents and local businesses in regards to Ingatestone. I am really delighted with this result and will continue to shape the service to meet the needs of the future.”
For those who wish to borrow books in the traditional way then this will continue, and the libraries will become more of a social place with a café society atmosphere and a one stop shop for other council services.
Pictured above are County Cllr Louise McKinlay, County Council leader Cllr David Finch and County Cllr Lesley Wagland