A library loaning system for Derbyshire pupils could face closure after only just over a third of eligible schools used the service.

The Schools Library Service (SLS) provides support and resources to the county's schools and educational buildings and is provided jointly between Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council.

Schools in the area are being asked for their views on the option to close the service, if a consultation exercise is agreed at a meeting on Thursday, December 7.

The proposed six-week consultation would seek information about which schools use the service, have previously used or could use it, and thoughts on potential closure.

The SLS has no connection with each school's own libraries.

The service is based out of the University of Derby's Kedleston Road campus and loans resources to schools, such as books, paintings, prints, posters, DVDs, CDs, textiles and resource packs.

But use has been declining over recent years, with figures for 2016-2017 showing that only 185 schools out of the 534 in Derbyshire took advantage, just 35 per cent. Comparatively, in the same time period in 2015/2016, the rate was 37 per cent.

The Schools Library Service loans books and educational equipment and resources to Derbyshire schools
The Schools Library Service loans books and educational equipment and resources to Derbyshire schools

Funding for the service stands at £176,000, with £149,000 being provided by Derbyshire County Council and the remaining £27,000 from the city council.

Councillor Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council leader and cabinet member for strategic leadership, culture and tourism said: "It is important to recognise that this is not about school libraries. They are separate and are not affected by this proposal.

"We would not propose to close any service without a great deal of thought but in this case we believe the School Library Service will not be viable in the future.

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South Derbyshire District Council

"The number of schools and other educational providers using it is dwindling every year and academies are not buying into it.

"If Cabinet agrees, we will hold a six-week consultation and ask all school and other organisations for their views before a final decision is made later next year."

If the consultation be agreed, it is expected to launch on January 1, 2018 and run to February 11, 2018.