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Torbay Libraries FAQs

1. Who is Libraries Unlimited?

Libraries Unlimited is an independent staff and community owned charity, established in April 2016. Libraries Unlimited is a not-for-profit organisation which works for community benefit. Any surplus income generated is reinvested into the organisation and its services. Libraries Unlimited runs Devon County Council’s public library service, Devon Libraries, which consists of 50 libraries across the county, four mobile libraries and three prison libraries, as well as operating FabLab Devon and the Business and Intellectual Property Centres in Exeter and Barnstaple Libraries.

2. Who is responsible for Torbay library service from now on?

As of 1st April 2018, Libraries Unlimited will be commissioned by Torbay Council to run the libraries in the Bay: Torquay, Brixham, Paignton and Churston Libraries. This means that Libraries Unlimited will operate the library service, on the Council’s behalf, through a contract and an agreed contract fee. Torbay Council and Libraries Unlimited will work closely together up until the transfer of the service. Following that, Libraries Unlimited will be responsible for delivering the service, with Torbay Council retaining the statutory responsibility for the library service and oversight of the performance of the contract with Libraries Unlimited.

3. When will Libraries Unlimited take over the running of Torbay Libraries?

The contract with Libraries Unlimited commences on 1st April 2018.

4. Will I see lots of changes in my local library?

Torbay Council is having to make savings to the library service and has contracted with Libraries Unlimited in order to provide a lower cost library service. All libraries will remain open with the same level of opening hours and the initial focus will be to ensure continuity of service. In the medium term, the charity aims to improve facilities and services to ensure Torbay residents receive high-quality and innovative library provision.

5. Will I still be able to use my card?

Yes, you will still be able to use your existing library card.

6. Will there be changes to fees and charges?

There are currently no plans to make any changes to fees and charges. Any future changes to fees and charges will be agreed with Torbay Council.

7. Will Torbay Libraries now be part of Devon Libraries?

No, although Libraries Unlimited runs Devon Libraries, Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries will remain separate services. Torbay Customers who wish to use Devon Libraries will need to have a separate library card, and vice versa. Over time, we hope to be able to explore the potential for sharing resources across Torbay and Devon.

8. Will there be any change to opening hours?

No. Library opening hours will remain unaffected.

9. Will the libraries close while they transition over to Libraries Unlimited?

There are no plans for libraries to close during the transition to Libraries Unlimited.

10. Will any libraries be closing or moving in the long-term?

As part of the contract with Torbay Council, Libraries Unlimited have committed to keeping all four Torbay Libraries open.

Torbay Council will not lose control over the current library buildings. The contract with Libraries Unlimited will not impede any future developments which may impact on the current library sites. The Council will retain the opportunity to change or relocate library sites if it so wished.

11. How long is the contract with Libraries Unlimited?

Libraries Unlimited have been awarded the contract of delivering and managing Torbay’s libraries for the next five years, with an option to extend the contract by a further five years.

12. What are the benefits to having Libraries Unlimited run Torbay Libraries?

As a charity, Libraries Unlimited can access additional sources of external funding, that enables them to implement and trial new and innovative services. Torbay Libraries will benefit from improved and modernised facilities and services which, over time, Libraries Unlimited will be able to secure from other sources. For example, Devon Libraries have benefitted from funding from Arts Council England funding which has seen the delivery of a new FabLab and business services in Barnstaple Library as well as a range of high-quality events and activities.

As Libraries Unlimited already runs 50 libraries, there will be benefits in terms of more cost-effective procurement and delivery of library services through having a larger scale of operation.

Torbay Libraries will also benefit from being overseen by a highly experienced senior team. The team, headed up by Ciara Eastell OBE, are nationally recognised for their leadership of a well-regarded and innovative library service. The team will provide support and guidance to library staff across Torbay to enable them to provide high quality and accessible library services.

13. Will all the services that currently run at Paignton still be there (Connections, registrars etc.)?

Yes. There are no plans for Libraries Unlimited to run any other part of the Paignton Library and Information Centre other than the library itself.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.