BLAENAU Gwent’s mobile library service is facing an uncertain future as councillors consider whether or not to scrap them.
Blaenau Gwent has two vehicles as part of its service – a mobile library and a home delivery service.
A report which went before the local authority’s education and leisure scrutiny committee last week said the home delivery service caters for 196 housebound and visually impaired customers and is highly regarded by users.
However, the mobile library – which serves communities more than two miles away from a library building and visits 36 stops a week – has falling visitor and loan numbers.
Annual loans have decreased from 26,335 in 2008/2009 to 22,658 in 2010/201. The number of new customers has gone from 142 to 91.
The report goes on to say that the mobile library, which costs £47,054 to run each year, fails to provide modern services and warns that if it continues to operate in the same way demand will decrease.
It puts forward five options for the future of the outreach service, and proposes establishing a task and finish group to consider these in more detail.
The options include keeping the mobile service by buying a new vehicle, investing in better IT provision and developing out-ofhours services at a cost of £120,000.
Alternatively, the council could discontinue the mobile service, making savings of £36,490, but the report says this option will “inconvenience current users the most and cause major dissatisfaction”.
Councillors agreed to establish a group to look at the options.