Suffolk has a nationally recognised Library service, and I am proud that we are seen as leading the way for other library services. 

We know that Libraries play an integral role in our communities, offering so much more than books; from places to meet others, learn new skills and get involved in activities at all ages, libraries play a special and unique role in people’s lives. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Libraries play an important role - such as here in NewmarketLibraries play an important role - such as here in Newmarket (Image: Suffolk County Council)

The contract with our current provider ends in May 2025 and since that contract began, the needs of local people have changed. We are therefore taking this opportunity to seek views from the public about what is important to them, ahead of awarding the new contract.   

The value of the new contract will be circa £80m over 12 years and this means that we are required to undertake a competitive procurement process.   

Last week, Suffolk County Council launched a consultation asking Suffolk Residents to tell us what they want from their library services in the future. 

Holding a public consultation as part of the procurement process gives an opportunity for Suffolk residents and workers to share their views on what they value in the current service and how they would like to see it develop.  

The feedback will ensure the changing needs of our communities are reflected within the tender for the future contract.  

The council has undertaken thorough engagement with over 30 organisations including Suffolk Libraries staff, key service users, schools and partner organisations prior to launching this consultation. I would like to thank those organisations who have helped to shape the consultation questions to make sure that we get the most out of the consultation.  

As a largely rural county, it’s important that everyone in Suffolk has an opportunity to access library services, wherever they live.  

A key focus of the consultation is the council’s Library outreach services, which include three mobile library vehicles, serving more than 500 stops across rural parts of the county each month, for the pickup and exchange of books.  

East Anglian Daily Times: What's your view on the future for the mobile libraries?What's your view on the future for the mobile libraries? (Image: Suffolk Libraries)

The mobile library vehicles are coming to the end of their life and therefore changes will need to be made as part of the new service, to ensure we can continue to deliver mobile libraries and other Outreach services.

This could include replacing the existing vehicles with smaller, more agile and economically friendly vehicles, making it easier to drive on rural roads and helping us to reach more people.  

Library Outreach services also include Pop-up Libraries, and a home library service run by local volunteers for Suffolk residents who find it difficult to access a library building or mobile library.  

The consultation will seek views on how Library Outreach services could be run in the future and we want to explore whether our residents would benefit from a like for like service, or a different mix of mobile and pop-up library services.  

We will be increasing the value of the new contract to take into account increased service costs, management of the Library Outreach service, and to allow for innovation in future years.  The term of the new contract will be six years, with the option to extend for a further six years. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Have your sayHave your say (Image: Suffolk County Council)

Whether you are an avid user of your local library, or if you do not currently use your library regularly but would like to make more use of it – we want to hear from you!

This is your chance to shape the future of library services in Suffolk.  

Please visit to give your feedback, before the closing date of Friday 26 January.  

Easy read and translated versions of the consultation are available on request, please email:  

Those who cannot access the consultation online, can request a printed copy, or assistance with completing the survey by calling 0345 603 1842.