Workshops set to focus on future of library service in Huntingdonshire

Huntingdon Library,

Huntingdon Library, - Credit: Archant

Library users in Huntingdonshire are being invited to have a say on how the future of the service in a series of workshops.

Cambridgeshire County Council is to hold a series of “future-focussed” workshops to determine how libraries in the county, including those in St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives, can meet the challenges of reduced funding in a bid to improve.

Within the sessions, attendees will also be asked to give their thoughts on how the county council can update the service to meet library users’ changing needs and demands by using technology.

Councillor Mathew Shuter, chairman of highways and community infrastructure committee, said: “We want to explore ideas to improve the service our libraries provide to residents and find new ways to meet changing needs.

“We are starting this process with no blueprint but a strong commitment to listen to the community’s ideas and suggestions. We’ll use this to inform our work and define together how libraries can achieve long-term sustainability and continue to thrive.”

Discussions will be taking place over the next month to allow residents to have their say, with further workshops to be held in September focussing on local issues.

Once the workshops are complete, it is expected that the council will present a set of options for the future of the service during a formal consultation. Along with the public workshops, the council says it will also take guidance from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s recently published Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016 to 2021, which sets out the government’s ambition for public libraries.

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The discussions come about a year after the authority voted in favour of reducing library opening hours as part of a savings drive.

As a result, opening hours at Huntingdon were reduced by four hours – meaning it now closes on a Sunday. St Neots library also saw its opening time trimmed by four hours, which means it now opens at 1.30pm on Wednesdays, instead of 9.30am.

After initially considering cutting the opening hours at St Ives library, the county council decided to leave the opening hours unchanged.

To find out more about the workshops, go to