Libraries to offer a one-stop shop
LIBRARIES and customer service centres could be brought under the same roof in two East Riding towns.
East Riding Council is seeking planning permission to move and improve its customer service centre (CSC) facilities into Hessle's library as part of a £1m project.
Similarly, in Withernsea, there is a £600,000 plan to provide a one-stop shop in the town's library.
Darren Stevens, head of culture and information at East Riding Council, said: "We want to provide the best services in the future but we need to do that at a lower cost than is currently the case.
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"Amalgamating the buildings means they will cost less to run.
"Pocklington is a real example of the customer service centre and the library being moved together.
"From a resident's point of view, it led to longer opening hours, the services under one roof and a nicer building. It also saves £50,000 a year in running costs."
At a time when dozens of libraries throughout the country are being closed, Mr Stevens said the ones in the East Riding are safe.
The council underlined this with £6m plans to update Haltemprice Leisure Centre, which will see the library brought under the same roof as a GP surgery, and the recent refurbishment of the library in Goole.
Mr Stevens said: "The world is changing and the way people access information is different to what it was.
"The role of the library has changed with technology and the internet and we are trying to address that.
"They are still important and overall visitor figures in the East Riding show they are holding up well.
"The number of visitors is not going down. It is either holding up or the numbers have increased. The majority of our users seems to be older people and families with young children.
"We have worked hard to use technology much more effectively, such as installing self-service machines.
"This frees up staff to help the customers and has even led to workshops and help in using computers.
"We have just refurbished Goole Library and we are hoping to amalgamate more services in the future."
The project in Hessle could start next spring and be completed within 12 months.
In Withernsea, work could start early next year and be completed in six months.
During the work both the library and the CSC will continue to provide services in the towns close to their current locations.
Councillor Stephen Parnaby, leader of East Riding Council, said: "We realise the value our residents place in having access to high-quality libraries and customer service provision.
"The plans for Hessle and Withernsea highlight this authority's commitment to providing these services now and in the future."
In Hessle, the scheme will allow for additional facilities, including web access and self-service machines.
In Withernsea, it will allow the library and CSC to provide up-to-date amenities, including web access and self-service machines.
A public display detailing the development proposals in Withernsea will be held at the library in Queen Street on Friday, November 2, from 9.30am to 4pm.