Over 170 people completed the survey, of whom 164 have a library card, so the information will be very useful to the Friends of the library as we make our plans for its future. Please find below a summary of the results.
Of those surveyed, 73 said they visited at least weekly, and 55 visited monthly.
When asked to rate the current library services, it was clear that most were rated excellent or good, as can be seen from Figure 1 below. The only real exception being the current opening hours.
It was also clear that many of the services provided are important or very important to a large proportion of users.
This question drew a range of answers, but the four dominant themes were:
"It is a wonderful library and community asset. Service and commitment of staff exemplary."
"Having a facility which is fit for purpose, has excellent free parking (essential for children, disabled and elderly), friendly staff with experience, willing and able to help."
" Useful provision of facilities i.e. computers for those in need. Place to meet friends. Excellent choice of reading materials."
"Community centre for activities, computers and book borrowing."
Just one overwhelming theme here, with the vast majority of respondents wanting the library open more hours and days of the week, although there were a few additional suggestions:
"Open more hours, so that everyone can access it, regardless of other commitments."
"Better opening hours. Maintain the position of a trained librarian who can assess the needs of the community served by the library."
"Evening opening and weekend opening more important than weekday time opening. I would love book reviews, suggestions, most borrowed/most popular list. I would love a teen reader book group and would possibly attend an evening book group myself."
Answers here reflected many of the points already made above:
"A wonderful place to meet, get involved in the various activities, and to access local information."
"I regularly borrow books for myself and my family, both fiction and non-fiction. When my daughter was young the weekly Bounce and Rhyme sessions were a lifeline. The free internet access is essential for people who do not have access at home."
"It fits the character of St Just, giving familiar surroundings for older people to drop in and have a chat. It is accessible, near amenities. A light, friendly space where people can share interests, is welcoming to tourists and visitors, and a reliable source of information — an integral part of St Just."
A good percentage of people said they would support some of the fund-raising ideas we suggested, with over 30% of respondents suggesting alternative ideas: see Figure 3 below.
Some of the many suggestions included:
Some respondents used this question to express their view that we should not have to be raising funds for a public service, that the local council should fund it as part of their devolution responsibilities, and expressing a concern that it will be difficult for such fund- raising ideas to raise sufficient funds to maintain the library.
As can be seen from Figure 4 below, the vast majority of respondents want the library to stay where it is.
Most of the respondents who ticked the "other" box, used the space to explain why they felt the library should not move, or to explain that they would prefer it to stay in the current building, but would accept a move elsewhere rather than lose a library service in St Just.
"I don’t think it matters as long as we have a library."
"I wouldn’t and couldn’t go if it were in the school – too far from the bus stop, too noisy and not a place where I’d feel comfortable."
"I will have to go where there’s an offer on the table. There are other suitable locations, but the existing one wins all round."
" With regard to tourists, surely it is too far away from the free car park and how many tourists would see/know about it if it’s out of the centre, and walk to the school?"
37 people answered this question, and made some useful suggestions about how the library could support schools and other local organisations, either by maintaining current services, or adding new ones:
"Could liaise with schools more to organise events for children of school age."
"Support for people with dementia and their carers – perhaps a book-reading group."
"Maybe it could offer printing/copying services for organisations and/or businesses – local companies would rather keep the money local."
Of the 96 people who added a comment here, most used it to express their concerns for the future of the library and their desire for it to continue, particularly in the current location, although a few could see possible advantages in a move to the school.
"It is very important to continue to have a library in St Just and I would be happy to pay a bit extra council tax for continued library provision. It’s been a very important resource for our children, and it would be a great loss for St Just if there was no library."
"I am just appalled that we are now facing the closure of a library. The LA should appreciate that a library is a shining example of a community facility. It combines all the ideas of sharing, educating and informing people. Isn’t supporting communities a prime objective of local authorities?"
" Must keep current building – close to transport and car park. Libraries are an essential part of any cultured community. It would be used even more if it was open more."
"Am so grateful to people working to preserve our library and feel very strongly that it should stay in the present position. I feel it would not be used as much if housed in the school – too hidden away to encourage use and not useful for tourist information. More opening hours would be preferable. A vital service."
" It is very important that St Just does not lose its library and if it can only be saved by moving to the school, then this is a good idea."
The full survey data is available on request from our secretary, Chris Hill: Tel 01736 449167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.