Revised proposals to transform local library services and achieve savings for the City Council are being recommended for approval by the authority’s Executive Board next week.
Initial plans involved among other things is the closure of three libraries, with Aspley’s being turned into a distribution hub for the library service.
However, some savings have already been achieved through a staffing restructure in the libraries service, meaning only £79,000 of savings were needed from the original £233,000.
This, along with strong public feedback against the closure proposals and emerging factors such as their important role of libraries during the cost-of-living crisis and as warm hubs, has allowed the council to look again at how to achieve the necessary changes and savings.
The proposals now due to be considered by members of the Executive Board at its meeting next Tuesday (January 17) involve keeping all existing libraries open, but with some shortened opening times across the library network, and Aspley Library modified to create a stock distribution and outreach hub while retaining it as a publicly accessible library.
The report to Executive Board states: “The transformation principles and revised recommendations provide a positive response to the views and concerns raised by individuals and communities and the strong opposition to closures.
“The recommendations still enable the transformation to create a modern library service that remains relevant, whilst still responding to financial pressures facing the local authority and the specific delivery of the savings requirement.”
It goes on to outline that the recommended action and delivery of the transformation of library services will enable the following outcomes to be achieved:
• Ensure a comprehensive service in light of local authority financial challenges
• Growth of the digital service and use
• Responding to and delivering wider community needs and council priorities e.g. literacy and learning, training and support into work, support to operating in a digital world and community health and well-being
• Greater opportunity to work in partnership with other public sector agencies and organisations to deliver shared outcomes
• Future-proofing the service through targeted resources and activity and becoming more agile and flexible to respond to changing circumstances
• Address the needs of people for warm hubs, community space and for retaining access to books and other printed and online media.