Murrindindi Shire Council is pleased to advise that its much-loved Mobile Library Service, delivered by the large van, will be back on the road by the end of 2017.

Deputy Mayor and Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Sandice McAulay said she was very grateful for the community’s patience since the prime mover which tows the mobile library van had been off the road since last year following an accident.

“While Council continued to deliver the mobile library service via a 4wd vehicle, we understand that this dramatically limited the browsing collection available to communities serviced by the Mobile Library”.

“A decision to replace the Prime Mover was also delayed by the need to consider the future shape of the Mobile Library Service. While it would have been preferable to do this review while also delivering the usual service, we couldn’t in good faith simply replace the Prime Mover without talking to the community first to ensure the service level was appropriate”, said Cr McAulay.

“So we asked the whole community what it thought about the Mobile Library service. We also wrote to all existing Mobile library users, asking them to complete a survey about the service, to find out what they valued or wanted to change. We also held a community meeting in Yea to discuss the findings and the service delivery and timetable.

“We received survey feedback from 175 people, which was a great response. Twenty-eight people from across the Shire then attended a community meeting in Yea in December 2016 to discuss the feedback and help us to make some decisions about the service”, she added.

“There was overwhelming support in the community for resumption of the full Mobile Library service in recognition of the role it plays in connecting communities, supporting children’s educational needs and the health and well-being of our people, including seniors.

“Unsurprisingly, these findings were entirely consistent with the responses we received through our community engagement about the Council Plan – the importance of connection, engagement and supporting vibrant communities and places through our services.”, added Cr McAulay.

In addition, Council asked residents in other communities in the Shire which are far from a physical library branch (and do not currently receive the Mobile service) to complete the survey.

“Our conversation with the community showed there is also interest in communities in Glenburn, Toolangi and Highlands to have a Mobile Library service. Through our engagement process, the community helped us to find a solution to extend our service to these communities in a cost-effective way.

“This means there will be a change to the mobile library timetable. We have written to existing Mobile Library users advising of the change, and details of this are also available on our website, or at any of our library branches. The new timetable will include a reduction in hours at some locations to enable an increase in others including new locations, but overall will provide a more equitable service across the Shire. These changes won’t take effect until later in the year when the full Mobile Library service resumes,” said Cr McAulay.

Cr McAulay added that it is important to note that while this is a valued community service, it is also an expensive service for Council to run.

“We need to ensure that this service is of maximum benefit to the community by providing an even greater range of services than it has in the past. So we are pleased and excited to advise that, in addition to the Mobile Library van delivering our much-loved Mobile Library service, free wifi and printing and photocopying facilities, it will also become a Council Customer Service Centre.”

“This will be a convenient way for you to pay rates and other Council fees and charges using EFTPOS. We also plan to provide a cash payment option (for those who prefer cash to cards) for smaller fees or charges such as home care, pet registration, replacement animal tags, infringement notices, disabled parking permits and library fines. It will also help you to access a range of other Council services.”

“Council now needs to go through a tender process to purchase the replacement vehicle, which will take some months. We anticipate the Mobile Library will be fully operational and back on the road and delivering service according to the new timetable by the end of 2017”.

We would welcome your feedback on these plans, including the proposed new timetable which is available at http://bit.ly/2uyH7w3, along with some other information about the Mobile Library service.

Please send any feedback by Monday 21 August 2017 to the Murrindindi Library Service Coordinator, Libby Kotschet on Ekotschet@murrindindi.vic.gov.au or call 5772 0355.

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