Are libraries a closed book to you?

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Just three weeks are left for people living in West Sussex to take part in a countywide survey on the county Library Service. Unusually, researchers say they want to hear equally from people who don’t use a library at all, or who haven’t set foot in one for several years.

The survey is aimed at pinpointing not only what customers want, but also what kind of services might entice non-users to join or return.

Early results from the survey, which started at the beginning of last month, show that so far more men than women have replied, and most are in the 55 to 64 age group.

“We need to understand why some people feel that library services are a closed book as far as they’re concerned,” said county council leader Louise Goldsmith.

“It’s important we see both sides of the coin, so we can tailor the whole experience to what people want and need. More than 20 per cent of respondents are people who don’t use libraries, but we need as many as possible to reply, to ensure we understand the whole picture.”

The survey also asks users how they would ‘spend’ 20 points on different priorities, including modernising library buildings, and even providing services from different locations. There is also free space for people’s own ideas.

Users can fill in the survey online at home or free of charge in libraries, at under Live Consultations, or on a paper copy available in Libraries. The results will be publicised on the county council website.