Essex County Council recognise that library services play a unique and valued role in our society. But in the last five years use has slumped: loans have almost halved and fewer than one in five Essex residents use libraries. The current service needs to change to fit the way we live now and in the future.

Earlier this year Essex County Council asked for people’s views on library services. They have listened to what Essex people have told them and they have come up with a set of proposals which are set out in a draft strategy. Their five-year plan in that draft strategy is for a service that:

  • Keeps books and reading at the heart of our library service offer
  • Embraces digital technology and e-library services
  • Has a smaller number of libraries which better meet community needs
  • Works in partnership with communities to run library services.

It is vital that Essex County Council operate a service that is viable to run and is relevant to people’s lives. The proposals therefore include some significant changes to the current service. Essex County Council want to get your views on these proposals.

You can find more information about the proposals and complete the survey at You can complete the survey as an individual or on behalf of an organisation.

If you need help to complete the survey, would like it in large print, or would like a printed copy of the EasyRead versions, please ask at your local library or call 0345 603 7639.

During the consultation, Essex County Council will also be holding information drop-ins at every library providing a further opportunity to ask questions, complete the consultation and find out more.

If you are from a community group or organisation please publicise the consultation to your members or service users. If you would like copies of publicity material please email

The deadline for completing the consultation survey is 20 February 2019.

All the responses from the consultation will be analysed and findings published on the consultation website. These will be available on request for those without internet access.

Any changes proposed will be considered when the strategy is finalised in summer 2019.


  • I would be really upset if the Central Library did not continue to provide a Book Group for blind and partially sighted users of audio books. The librarian produces a range of audio books at each session to choose from and these can be retained for more than the usual 3 weeks. When we meet again we have the opportunity to discuss what we have listened to which provides social interaction and friendship for otherwise quite isolated people.
    In addition, Essex Sight provides a valuable service in the Library on Fridays for visually impaired people.

  • My wife and I use the facilities at Braintree regularly and consider it an
    excellent library in all respects , and would be lost without its benefits ,
    as I am sure many other residents of Braintree would be .

  • Interrogate library is at the centre of a thriving, busy community.It is the centre for the Toy Library, a well attended book group, and a children’s reading scheme in the school holidays. It is also used by the Registrar for sessions.
    All these activities would be curtailed if the library is closed down,.
    This is also well used for borrowing books and internet use..In these times of growing social isolation, it has a function for mothers and their children, older readers, and many others. It would be a very retrograde step to remove this valued resource from the local community.
    Janet Hewer
    (A user of this library for at least twenty years)

  • I have been a regular user of Holland on Sea Library for over 20 years. It is not just a
    Library it is a hub of the local community. It is never empty, the computers are always in use and children have their meetings there. The staff are first class, always helpful. Please keep this branch open.

  • I have used Raleigh library quite often to show me house to work with computers and other devices these devices have many aspects and keep getting more advanced and I would like to more courses on these machines

  • According to the consultation papers published via the Essex CC website, the consultation finishes at 11.59 on thursday 21 February, not 20 February. There’s still time to contest these proposals, everybody!

  • Delighted to know that Shenfield will continue to have a library but please please please no more coffee shops or wine bars. They are killing the high street as people using them monopolise parking.

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