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New chapter for libraries in Southend

Published Wednesday, 24th January 2018

Library Books on Shelves

Library users in Southend will soon have access to more books with lower charges, as Southend-on-Sea Borough Council joins forces with a network of libraries across the South East.

From 26 March, the Council will leave the Essex Library Service – co-ordinated by Essex County Council – to instead become a member of a consortium of libraries called South East Library Management System (SELMS).

The move will give Southend library-users access to a pool of 6 million books and other library resources together with lower library charges and service improvements.

Other members of SELMS include Kent – the largest library service in the country – Brighton & Hove, Buckinghamshire, Camden, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Medway, Windsor and Maidenhead, Richmond upon Thames, West Berkshire, and Slough.

The library changes will be communicated with residents across Southend via mail, email, advertising and social media in the New Year. Further information will continue to be updated on our website at Library Changes.

Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and The Economy, hailed the move as a win-win for the Council and local residents.

She said: “Southend has been a member of the Essex Library Service for many years now and it has served us well in that time. However, we regularly review all our service arrangements and I believe residents will be better served under the new SELMS service.

“There will be lower charges for inter-library loans and a greater selection of books and other library resources. You will also have the option of reminders, renewal notices and other important communications being delivered via email or text message instead of post, meaning you can get them quicker and avoid late fees. However, you can still receive reminders via post if you prefer.

“The new arrangement will also bring about some ongoing savings to the Southend Council tax-payer through efficiencies, helping to safeguard services in years to come.

“Importantly, both our home library service and mobile library service will continue to operate.”

Further information can be found on our website at Library Changes.