The fate of two community libraries hangs in the balance as Cheshire West and Chester Council launches a public consultation.

The local authority is asking for views on proposals for Bishops’ High and Elton libraries which would see them close to the public and be replaced with alternative ways to access the libraries service.

A consultation launched this week is asking residents for their comments on a number of proposed changes to the way these libraries currently operate.

Elton Library is located in a community centre in the village of Elton. The library is currently open on a Thursday afternoon for 4.25 hours and provides a small selection of book stock for lending. There are no IT facilities. It is proposed to offer an improved library service to Elton residents via the mobile library.

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Each week the mobile library would stop in the village for two hours or more and would stop at the most accessible place for residents. It would also stop on different days each week, to enable more customers to access the service.

All residents with restricted mobility would be entitled to use the home library service, which delivers books to their home.

The Bishops' Blue Coat CE High School includes a library which is currently open to the public for part of the week

Bishops’ High Library is a dual-use library based at Bishops’ Blue Coat High School in Great Boughton. It is open for ten hours a week split between Mondays and Thursdays and is used by the school for the rest of the week.

The consultation explains how it is proposed to withdraw public access to Bishops’ High Library and provide alternative access to the public library service from neighbouring libraries, which are all less than two miles away.

The mobile library service would also be used, with three stops to serve the local community in that area.

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There is also free access at all times to a wide range of library services including eBooks and eAudio via the libraries’ webpage.

Mobile library

Cllr Louise Gittins, Cabinet member for culture, leisure and wellbeing, said: “The proposals for both these libraries involve use of our mobile library. This will ensure that library users have greater choice from much more current and wide ranging stock.

“The mobile library also has internet connectivity and access to the web-based library management system, so customers would have access to stock across the authority and would be able to make reservations and update their accounts. Mobile library staff will be able to provide online council information and provide an enquiry service too.

“I hope everyone who has a view on our proposals gets in touch to let us know their comments.”

To take part in the consultation please visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/bishopshighlibraryconsultation or www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/eltonlibraryconsultation

Alternatively a paper copy of the questionnaire for Elton can be completed in Elton, Helsby or Ellesmere Port Port Libraries. Paper copies for Bishops’ High can be completed in Bishops’ High, Great Boughton and Chester Libraries.