Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Are pop-up libraries the solution?

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Plymouth City council insists shutting five libraries and replacing them with a so called 'pop-up' version is working and was the right thing to do.

It's been six months since councillors took the decision.

Uneasy reading - the sign on the door of Stoke Library which closed last year. Credit: ITV West Country

Stoke Library is one of five Plymouth libraries which closed for good last year, as part of the council's drive to modernise services. People in the neighbourhood will have to wait till Fridays before they get access to a library now - when the new pop up service drops in to the local Christian Centre.

The council claims this move has been a huge success, allowing them to sell off buildings which were not being used enough and take the library service out into the community.

There is still a library in Stoke - but only on Fridays Credit: ITV West Country

The library service in this city was not fit for purpose, so therefore we've taken action to deal with that and provide modern facilities. So it's all about bringing the libraries out into the communities, and indeed catching and dealing with those areas of the city that didn't even have a library service but do now.

This isn't a cost-cutting exercise. This is modernising the library service, making it fit and proper, delivering the services that people want across the city, and we'll continue to do that. We will bring the library service out to people. So if they give us a call and let us know we will get that service to them by means of a pop-up library, or people can order particular books and get them delivered to their most convenient library for collection. So we want to take and will take every step we can to give people access to a modern library service.

– Cllr Ian Bowyer, Leader, Plymouth City Council
The pop-up library bookshelves are on wheels to allow for easy movement. Credit: ITV West Country

Opponents in the Labour Party disagree, accusing their Tory rivals of attempting to run down the city.

It's still a horrific decision. People within their communities are really upset that libraries shut. We need to make sure the libraries are being used by a wider group of people, used as community hubs, used as a tranquil place for a bit of peace, used as an area of wonder for children so they can get access to those books they need early in life. You can't do that by hiding your pop-up library in a community centre and closing the library you already had.

– Jeremy Goslin, Plymouth Labour Party

The council is in fact about to announce a quarter of a million pound investment in St Budeaux library, while Devonport and Crownhill have also recently undergone makeovers.