THE Isle of Wight's library service is to come under the national spotlight in the coming weeks.
Isle of Wight Council leader, Cllr David Pugh, is to speak in the House of Commons and at a conference in Cardiff about the Island's approach to its library service.
In the last 12 months, the Island has moved from an entirely local authority-based library service to one which is made up of six council libraries, five community libraries run by volunteers and a mobile library service.
Cllr Pugh will speak to MPs in the House of the Commons on February 21 as part of an enquiry into library closures by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
And on March 7, Cllr Pugh will speak at the Local Government Association's (LGA) conference in Cardiff.
Cllr Pugh said: "It is clear the Island's innovative approach to library changes is of considerable interest to those involved in looking at the future of the service, both nationally and locally.
"The past 12 months has been a challenging time for everyone involved in libraries on the Island.
"The significant budget challenges we faced meant we could not shy away from looking at how our library service was configured.
"We needed to develop a service that was affordable and sustainable and as we progressed the changes we adjusted the plans along the way to respond to particular needs and issues.
"This flexible approach has not only ensured the successful establishment of five community libraries but has complemented the local enthusiasm and efforts to secure the long-term future of these valued facilities.
"From my own experience as a volunteer in Shanklin, it is clear our local library is not only secure but has the potential to develop into a flexible resource which responds to community need and demand.
"I am looking forward to sharing some of these experiences with the House of Commons committee and the LGA conference to help both MPs and fellow authorities in their deliberations on this important matter.
"I also hope to learn of best practice happening elsewhere in the country, which we can feed into our future developments here.
"Thanks to the immensely strong community spirit on the Island, we have managed to maintain and develop our network.
"We are also actively investigating extending the opening hours at some of our branches."