Why must the service be changed?

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THIS week’s announcements have brought about the first major changes to Wakefield’s library service for more than 30 years.

The proposed changes would save Wakefield Council £800,000 a year, at time when it needs to save £95m in six years.

But consultations carried out since this review was launched three years ago found that the current service was struggling due to visitors’ habits changing.

Library use in Wakefield has declined by 43 percent in the last 20 years, and this month’s cabinet report said just 14.5 per cent of people are now using the service regularly.

In the last three years there has been a 157 per cent increase in online reservations, and the report said it was also easier now for people to pick up books cheaply from supermarkets.

The final stage of the consultation took a sample survey of 1,000 people from across the area, of various ages, genders and ethnicities. And 2,672 people filled in self-completion surveys in the library buildings.

Less than half said they were ‘very satisfied’ with the service, and the findings concluded that people wanted more from their libraries.