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Consultation News March 2013

Why we consulted

To seek the views of Gateshead residents on proposals for changes to the Library Service, to have a reduced ‘core library network’ of 12 libraries with an additional 5 libraries to be run by volunteers. The proposals also include the Readers at Home service to also be run by volunteers.


When we consulted

1 November 2012 to 19 January 2013


How we consulted

A Survey was made available on the council’s on-line consultation system and paper copy was also available in public buildings; 11 public meetings also took place. Views were sought from Trade Unions, Ward Councillors, Local residents, Council employees, Library users and Residents.



The responses to the consultation were analysed and the main findings are as follows:


There was a very good level of understanding of the proposals:

Understanding of Proposals:

Very good / good 57%

Adequate 30% 87% (Very good/good and Adequate)

Poor / Very Poor 13%


Support for the concept of a core library network:

Strongly agree 5 %

Agree 41% 46% (Strongly agree and Agree)

Disagree 18%

Strongly Disagree 23% 41% (Strongly disagree and Disagree)

Don’t Know 13%


Public opinion is pretty evenly split in favour and against the concept of core and non-core libraries.


Support for the use of volunteers to deliver ‘non core’ services:

Strongly Agree 6%

Agree 31% 37% (Strongly agree and Agree)

Disagree 22%

Strongly Disagree 27% 49% (Strongly disagree and Disagree)

Don’t Know 14%


Public opinion drifts against the use of volunteers to run libraries, but not overwhelmingly.




Libraries Consultation

Overall level of volunteering interest


In total 19% of respondents expressed an interest in volunteering. In Phase 1 of consultation 22% of respondents indicated they would volunteer. Again the majority of volunteers are offering 1 – 5 hours per week.

A series of public meetings outlined the proposals in more detail and discussed volunteer responsibilities, answering questions around volunteering and assessing attendees’ interest in volunteering.


Next steps

A report on the findings of the consultation was considered by Cabinet on February 26, with the following key proposals:


  • That the identified non-core libraries; Lobley Hill, Low Fell, Ryton, Sunderland Road and Winlaton cease to be operated by the Council at the end of June 2013
  • That there is ongoing work with these five communities with the intention that the operation of these libraries will pass to community volunteers in July 2013
  • That the Library Service continues to work with WRVS, with the intention to transfer the running of the Readers at Home service operation to the voluntary sector in July 2013


There will be a series of on-going meetings with the public as detailed below. If you are interested in volunteering to support the library service please contact Janice Holmes on 0191 433 8410 or e-mail [email protected].uk


The regular days/ times for volunteer training sessions are as follows:


Ryton: Tuesdays, 1pm

Low Fell: Tuesdays, 5.30pm

Sunderland Road: Wednesdays, 10am

Winlaton: Thursdays, 5.30pm

Lobley Hill: Fridays, 10am


For more information on current Council consultations CLICK HERE

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