Over the last 6 months GLL has worked to improve the library service and provision in Lincolnshire, from improving buildings, offering new facilities, putting on more activities, and now with its book range improved with the introduction of a new loan period. From the 1st October 2016 the standard loan period for books and talking books borrowed from Lincolnshire Libraries and Community Hubs will be changing from four weeks to three, allowing better customer selection.

Changing to a three week loan period will enable a greater turnover in stock giving customers a wider selection, of new and popular titles in particular, as well as reducing reservation waiting times for “out of library items”.

The change will bring Lincolnshire in line with the majority of UK library authorities as well as GLL’s other libraries in Greenwich and Wandsworth who use this successful system.

Better use of technology and an emphasis on customer service mean items can now be easily renewed if customers need them for a little longer – so library service users can spend more time reading and less time waiting. Customers can telephone the Customer Service Centre (8am until 6pm Monday to Sunday including bank holidays) or access their library account through the internet at any time if they are unable to visit any of the 15 core libraries or 32 community hubs to renew items.

To gauge customer’s appetite for shorter loan periods, Lincoln Library introduced a collection of popular “Quick Choice” titles last year which were issued for just two weeks. This proved to be very popular and as a result the collections were rolled out to all core libraries in the spring where they continued to be well received by customers. It is recognised though that having two different loan periods for book stock can be confusing and so these items will also change to a three week loan period from the 1st October giving customers greater consistency.

Not all loan periods will change though. Items borrowed from Mobile Libraries will retain the four week loan in line with scheduled stops. DVD hire and loans to subscription groups, Listening Lincs and Home Library Service customers will also remain unchanged.

To ensure customers have time to adjust to the change in loan periods, an eight week fines amnesty will be held from 1st October to 26th November 2016. This will cover the first two new loan periods and mean that customers won’t be penalised for forgetting about the new arrangements.

GLL run the Lincolnshire Library Service in partnership with Lincolnshire Country Council. Diana Edmonds Head of Libraries for GLL, said:

“Books are the corner stone of any library service and since taking over in April we have been working hard looking at how we can improve the quality and selection of stock on offer, ensuring it meets our customers’ interests and needs. Moving to a three week loan period will help us make significant progress towards improving the selection of books our customers have to choose from”.

“We recognise though that this is a significant change for customers and I hope that by having the fines amnesty we can make sure no one is out of pocket. I would also hope that the amnesty will be an incentive for lapsed borrowers with overdue items, especially those who are perhaps worried about fines, to be encouraged back into our libraries with the promise of a clean slate and so discover all the stock and activities that are now on offer.”

Other improvements to the Lincolnshire Libraries over the past six months include, new look children’s libraries at Lincoln and Boston with another planned for Stamford along with internal and external improvements at Sleaford, Gainsborough and Stamford. Over the last few months Lincolnshire libraries have hosted the Summer Reading Challenge with record breaking take up at sites like Stamford, where over 400 children signed up to read six books during the summer, as well as other sessions including Therapy Dog reading sessions at Louth Library and musical ‘Library Lates’ in Lincoln Central Library’s Reading Garden. Across the autumn many more activities will be taking place for the whole family at libraries across the county including the introduction of messy mornings, brain training sessions and mindful colouring clubs.