THE new stripped-down timetable for Hampshire County Council’s mobile library service begins on Monday, July 4.

The new service will consist of four mobile libraries based at Andover, Fareham, Farnborough, and Totton. The service will be available in Basingstoke the first three Mondays of each month. Details of the full timetable can be found online at libraries.

Councillor Keith Chapman, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for culture and recreation, said: “The new service is a result of two extensive public consultations and will save more than £500,000 a year.”

Hampshire’s mobile library used to be one of the largest with 19 vehicles, costing over £960,000 a year. However, over the last five years, the mobile library has declined in popularity with book issues down by 39 per cent.

Cllr Chapman added: “We hope that the new stops will be used more frequently, and we are working closely with parish and town councils to make sure this happens.”

The new service will include 365 stops each month and a new Saturday service. It will be publicised in individual locations and will be reviewed in 12 months to check that the new stops are worth running.

Anyone wanting to use the mobile library, but who is unable to get to a stop, can register a family member, friend or neighbour as a ‘Good Neighbour’ to borrow books. Delivery can also be arranged where necessary.