Saturday, 19 February 2011

Update: council go-ahead for library cuts

At a full county council meeting on 15 February, councillors agreed to push forward with plans to drastically alter the way library services in Cambridgeshire are run, slashing £3.2m from the budget for libraries. More details are available on Cambridgeshire County Council's website, but the four main changes agreed are:
  1. Creating a charitable trust to take over the running of the service by April 2012.
  2. Cutting staff numbers, with library branches working together in 'clusters' and bringing in more self-service machines.
  3. Finding more volunteers, and encouraging communities to help manage and run the library service.
  4. 'Changing library infrastructure': some libraries could become volunteer-run Library Access Points or multi-agency 'community hubs'. Some libraries could close 'if sufficient savings cannot be found'. Libraries are under review at this stage are:
    • Bar Hill
    • Buckden
    • Comberton
    • Cottenham
    • Great Shelford
    • Linton
    • Milton Road, Cambridge
    • Rock Road, Cambridge
    • Sawston
    • Sawtry
    • Warboys
    • Willingham
    • Yaxley
FOAL is concerned about the impact these changes could have on the quality of the county's library service as a whole, and particularly concerned about the impact on Arbury Court Library if other branches close.

The council is promising communities will have the chance to give their views on the plans at a series of public meetings in March, April and May. We will post more detail about these meetings as soon as we know more.

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