Cash boost for community libraries

PUBLISHED: 16:13 06 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:19 20 February 2013

An extra £30,000 is now available to support Somerset communities interested in running threatened libraries, while the remainder will have opening hours reduced from 1 October.

An extra 30,000 is now available to support Somerset communities interested in running threatened libraries, while the remainder will have opening hours reduced from 1 October.



The extra 30,000 was revealed this week by Councillor Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Community Services, as part of her decision to take forward savings proposals agreed by the Councils Cabinet in February to make a 25 per cent reduction in the Library Service budget.



It can be used to provide one-off grants of up to 5,000 to communities that commit themselves to running or supporting libraries that may no longer be funded by the Council, subject to a decision later this month. Six of the Countys 34 libraries could be offered to their communities to run in October, with a further five libraries offered next April. The other 23 libraries across Somerset will face reduced opening hours from 1 October.



The additional 30,000 has come from savings identified after consideration of proposals put forward by the Friends of Glastonbury/Somerset Libraries.



Cllr Lawrence said: There have been positive discussions with many communities and we hope that the extra funding will help turn discussions into practical solutions. As with all services, the decision to reduce budgets for libraries has been very tough but is necessary because of the Councils financial position. We need to provide the best service we can within the resources we have.



Following Tuesdays decision to take forward the savings proposals agreed by Cabinet, Cllr Lawrence also decided to implement a 20 per cent reduction in opening hours for 23 Somerset libraries.



New opening hours, that would take affect from 1 October, will vary for each library and were devised based on responses to questionnaires completed by library users, analysis of visits and computer usage, and the experience and knowledge of library staff.



For full details of the reduced opening hours from 1 October, visit www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries


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