Council to open new digital chapter for library

THE Clarence Valley's mobile library service could be digital-only in five years.

Clarence Valley Council staff have prepared a report which shows how the service can be downsized immediately and eventually transformed into a digital-only service.

The report to the council's environment, planning and community committee meeting on Tuesday recommends the service switch from a truck to a van-based service, saving ratepayers about $200,000 in replacement costs.

It recommends the van cut its stops from 32 to 12, eliminating stops at schools and reducing the number of days on the road from nine to six each fortnight.

It also wants to extend van stays from 30 minutes to half-days and carry out education programs to help transition traditional library users to a digital library service and maximise the use of the NBN services now available in most of the outlying areas.

The council has won a $132,000 State Government grant to help with the purchase of the new van.

The van can be used to provide services for tourists during festival periods, such as the Jacaranda Festival and over summer in Yamba.

The report says the cost of the mobile library service is between two and three times that of other library services the council offers.

The council has costed setting up the van at $103,450, which included buying the van. Ongoing costs are estimated at $179,557.

Other councils have adopted similar programs.

Port Macquarie and Wollondilly councils have both introduced a van-based service capable of carrying 1000 items. The current Clarence service is estimated to provide 1500 items to non-school users.

Surveys of users have found the service has support from the community.

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