HARTLEPOOL’S libraries will be the subject of a six-month review as the council looks to find potential savings.
No branch closures will be considered but Hartlepool Borough Council will look at reducing opening hours and branches potentially sharing facilities.
Councillors agreed the scope of the review as the authority tries to find savings from within its Regeneration Division for 2015-16. The council needs to make budget cuts of around £14million for the next two financial years.
A major part of the 12-week study will look at the location and condition of the existing buildings.
The library service currently runs four part-time branch libraries at Throston, Seaton Carew, Owton Manor and the Headland.
The current network has been in place since 1998 when Headland Library relocated from the Carnegie Building.
Council papers stated: “The remaining libraries have not changed location for over 40 years during which time the communities have evolved and in many cases expanded. “The review will consider whether the buildings are located in the best place to serve the current community needs. The review will consider the co-location of services, reporting on the potential for efficiencies and financial savings for operating within shared facilities.”
For Seaton Library, a new-look service as part of a new shared community building as part of the authority’s Seaton Masterplan project, will be considered.
Replacing some parts of the service with greater use of the mobile library, deposit collections to care homes and community groups, and the Home Library Service will also be explored.
Public and staff surveys, public events and focus groups will start in January.