Friday, 22 November 2013

Libraries under threat reports BBC

BBC Cornwall are running a story about Cornwall's libraries being under threat. I want to try to give some reassurance that the council is doing all it can to protect the service. Regular readers will know that I campaigned hard to keep my local library open when it was threatened with closure by the Conservatives a few years ago.

The very significant budget pressures being faced by the council mean that every service we provide is being reviewed. As with every thing else, libraries are having to make reductions due to the cut in government grant.

We are hoping to review the library service and come up with a plan to ensure its long term security and to consider all the possible alternatives. One option could be to close a number of branches. But I believe that there are other options too such as the use of volunteers, devolving libraries, creating a library trust or creating community libraries. I hope that all of these ideas could be discussed with proper input from staff, users and anyone else who can help.

In order to make savings for the short term we are looking at a range of options which would avoid the need for any branch closures. Certainly that would be my preference. These would mean some loss of service, but, as my colleague Adam Paynter says, we hope mergers with one stop shop and more cuts in hours would halt the need for closures and give the space for the wider discussions.

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