Agenda item

To enable Members of the Committee to determine comments they would like to submit to the Essex County Council consultation on the future of library services.


The Committee had before it a report of the Head of Leadership Support and Community (A.1) which enabled the Committee to put forward comments in response to the consultation being undertaken by Essex County Council  (ECC) on their draft strategy for the future of library services up to 2024.

It was reported that Essex County Council has published a draft strategy on the future of library services over the next five years. Consultation is now being undertaken to enable views to be submitted on the strategy. The strategy is based on views gathered from the public in 2018; the consultation closes on 20 February 2019. Essex Libraries currently serve a population of 1.5 million through 74 library buildings, eLibrary services, 2 mobile libraries and home library service volunteers. It also supports 8 volunteer run community libraries. Over the last 6 years the use of libraries has declined.

 The strategy is about library services, both physical and online, and how and where these can be provided in the future. The strategy is not about library buildings and it could be, for example, that library shelves could be in community centres or other public buildings. The strategy anticipates that in the future, community groups and volunteers are more likely to be involved in delivering library services. The strategy sets out the overriding ambition for library services and the key points that the strategy will focus on. These focus on keeping books and reading at the heart of the library service, embracing digitalisation and technology and working with communities to deliver services locally.

Each of the existing 74 libraries has been placed in one of four tiers based on assessment against the criteria of; location, usage, population, deprivation and social isolation. The four tiers are;

·         Tier 1 – Main or hub libraries which will part of the statutory provision

·         Tier 2 – library services in areas where there is a need for them to be managed by ECC in partnership with community or other partner;

·         Tier 3 – locations where no library service is needed as part of the statutory provision but where ECC could support the provision of the service run locally. If no suitable offer is received within six months of Cabinet approval of the strategy then ECC intend to re-consult on the future of these libraries;

·         Tier 4 – these libraries are proposed for closure but ECC would consider proposals for community libraries in these locations.

The libraries in Tendring are in the following tiers;





Tier 1


Tier 2


Tier 3


Tier 3


Tier 3


Tier 3

West Clacton

Tier 3


Tier 4


The full strategy and consultation questionnaire were attached to the report (A.1) as appendices A and B respectively.


The comments of the Committee will be submitted to the Cabinet meeting on 15 February to agree the final response of Tendring District Council.


After discussion, focussing to a large extent on the five criteria underpinning the rationale for proposals included in the Strategy (Location, Usage, Population, Deprivation and Social Isolation)it was RESOLVED that the Head of Leadership Support and Community would incorporate the views of the Committee into the consultation response form and agree this with the Chairman of the Community Leadership Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The completed consultation would also be circulated to all members of the Committee.


Supporting documents: