Walsall Council is looking to review and improve its Library Service. In October 2020 the Library service formally moved into the Council’s Resilient Communities team. This recent and positive move will ensure that the library service becomes more responsive to the needs of Walsall communities. The Library Service is therefore seeking to build upon these relationships and forge closer and stronger links with the local communities and groups that it serves.
No decisions have been made about our libraries and any potential changes will be subject to public consultation. In due course there will be an opportunity to review what Walsall library service does and where and how it is delivered. As the thinking behind the service is developed it will help inform any review, as well as study options for building the service in the future.
Future improvements could include options like book boxes and the development of community libraries - with services becoming more accessible to those communities they serve.
In recent years provision itself has already grown - as communities themselves created places where books can be accessed locally. Community facilities at Pelsall Village Centre, The Hive in New Invention and the Collingwood Centre in Pheasey are good examples of innovation and greater community involvement and control. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a fantastic community response and the Council wants to continue to harness some of these dynamic relationships, so it can build, and embed these approaches into its Library Service.
In relation to the continued pause of the Library Service after the November lockdown. The Council regrets the need for this temporary suspension and understands the frustrations of some service users. But in the best interests of the residents of Walsall it is felt that the Libraries should remain closed at this time. This has enabled the Council to temporarily redeploy some staff during the pause period to supporting the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable in Walsall and starts to build closer links with communities and community organisations.
Councillor Garry Perry, Walsall Council Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for libraries said:
“I am convinced that our new Community Library Service will deliver greater community involvement and greater innovation. Be prepared to see positive change as we identify positive community approaches including street libraries, book boxes and more community locations. In addition we intend to grow the number and type of services available in our local libraries. Of course we will be calling on communities to play their part in ensuring we build a community service fit for the future. Our communities have delivered some fantastic things during the COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue that partnership in the future.”