See the report from Bristol City Council "Library rechnology replacement and upgrade".

Comments:

Although there needs to be a continuous review of technology and it's function for library users, if this proposed upgrade means an impact on the availability of staff it will not be "in line with customer expectations". Customers still have a significant preference for service at the desk in addition to using the kiosks. The vast majority still prefer staffed hours to using the unstaffed Extended Access where it is available. An advantage currently in the libraries is the availability of front line staff as representatives and information suppliers on behalf of the council, and this diminishing resouce is valued as such.

Technology must bring ease of use and efficiency (so far this has not been totally successful in the library system!), but not at the expense of personal assistance which is particularly needed by more vulnerable library users for a range of services.

There is also a question about the "portable" aspect of the technology, which could further remove the library service from being anchored to actual libraries. The public should be aware of this trend in planning for the future of library provision.

Diane Jones

Committee member of Bristol Libraries Forum