Shake-up promised for 16 Brighton and Hove libraries

Posted On 27 Aug 2011 at 8:24 pm

Library users across Brighton and Hove are being promised more services and a better experience.

All 16 libraries in the city are to offer refreshments, have more modern computers and take action to tackle noise nuisance.

The main Jubilee Library in Brighton is even to have free wifi.

And for those who value the more traditional elements of a municipal library, they can expect the latest books to be stocked more quickly.

In addition, subject categories will be reviewed to make searching easier and duplication will be reduced with more effort being made to ensure complete sets of books published as a series.

And shelves are to be tidied more often so that fewer books are in the wrong place.

The changes follow a review which included a survey of 2,300 library users last summer.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that 88 per cent of demands made on the service by customers were met.

The aim now was to meet the remaining 12 per cent.


Among the more topical suggestions was more quiet space to be set aside at exam times to help students revise.

The use of space will also be reviewed to ensure the right balance of seating and shelves.

And the council said that spaces stocked with toys will be created at all libraries for parents with children.

The new Whitehawk library, which is due to open on Tuesday (30 August), is said to exemplify the council’s ambitions.

It has updated computers, new book stock organised in more user-friendly categories, toys, a café, plus extra seating and study room.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, the council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “We think libraries are a crucial, core council service.

“So we’ll be actively pursuing opportunities for refurbishment or redevelopment of libraries.

“More immediately we’ll focus on stock improvements as these are regarded as most important by residents – and something we can deliver.

“The feedback we received during this research shows people already really like what we’re doing.

“But we now want to take it from being a good service to being a brilliant one.”

The changes are expected to be approved at one of the regular culture decision-making meetings chaired by Councillor Bowden on Tuesday 6 September.

A list of Brighton and Hove libraries can be found by clicking here.

  1. Aaa Reply

    Why doesn’t Geoffrey Bowden let the local independent coffee shops serve the refreshments and the libraries serve the books?

    How many small independent coffee shops will be lost as their market share is further threatened, this time by their own council?

    Libraries are for books or has Cllr Christopher Hawtree forgotten that now he is elected.

    Spend the public’s money on more books, not coffee shops Cllr Bowden.

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  3. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Libraries are not something over which I have any direct control. However, I am on the Scrutiny panel which will be looking at the Libraries Plan ahead of its implementation. I very much hope that we shall have the opportunity to put forward the concerns which readers have expressed the past decade. Book stock is the overwhelming concern in every survey that has been conducted among readers. Which is hardly surprising.

  4. Aaa Reply

    Cllr Hawtree protests too much. It is his Green Party and Cllr Bowden who are putting their beloved cafe culture over increasing book stocks. what a shame, many had hoped for better and a chance to put right the many points library users have been raising over the years.

    All that campaigning from Christopher Hawtree hasn’t amounted to very much now he is elected. Book readers don’t want to hear about his precious scrutiny meeting, they want long over due action, and that doesn’t mean more Starbuck style coffee shops in our libraries.

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