Published by Telford & Wrekin Council – 25 May 2012
Telford & Wrekin Council is working in partnership with Town and Parish Councils across the borough to secure the future of the library service despite the need to make a 20 per cent saving.
Following a council review of the existing library service last month, it was decided that a 20 per cent saving could be achieved without the need to close any of the nine libraries across the borough.
The review suggests that the saving can be made through a reduction of opening hours along with the exploration of working with other partner services in order to share building costs.
Consultation between October 2011 and February 2012 gave Town and Parish Councils the opportunity to put forward their ideas around how savings could be made.
Since the review, a number of Parish Councils have come to the rescue to work in partnership with Telford & Wrekin to secure the future of the libraries in their local communities.
Great Dawley Parish Council is agreeing to fund five hours of staffing costs per week at Dawley library for two years. This will maintain current opening hours which would have otherwise have been reduced to make savings.
Stirchley & Brookside Parish Council has agreed to relocate the Parish Council from Progress House into the public library space next door. This will result in shared building costs.
Staffing hours at Stirchley Library will be reduced to 16 hours per week although self service technology means that all other times when the building is open visitors will be able to borrow and return books.
Hadley & Leegomery Parish Council is also lending a helping hand to the borough’s library service by funding three hours per week for an initial period of six months.
The reduction in staffing hours will now be less severe and the library will be operational for 19 hours per week.
New opening times for the libraries will not become effective until 3 September 2012.
Councillor Arnold England, cabinet member for Leisure & Wellbeing, said:
“Working in partnership with Town and Parish Councils to explore co-operative opportunities is one way that Telford & Wrekin Council will be able to deliver a sustainable library service.
“Working in the co-operative way, we are saying no to library closures and yes to partnership working. Making savings is now a common fact of life but working together we can make sure that the effects on our residents are less severe.”
Councillor Brian Duce, Chairman of Great Dawley Parish Council, said: “ I am fully in support of the council’s co-operative ways of working and by this I mean truly listening to local people and working in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the community. Helping to secure the library service is just one way that we will be working with Telford & Wrekin to make sure that important services and jobs are preserved.”
Councillor Jackie Loveridge, Chairman of Stirchley & Brookside Parish Council, said: “In times where making savings is unavoidable, it requires all hands to the pump to make sure that valued services are secured and preserved for local people.
“Working with Telford & Wrekin Council is our way of making sure that our libraries survive.”
Councillor John Smart, Chairman of Hadley & Leegomery Council, said: “Hadley & Leegomery Parish Council is pleased to be working in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council to make sure that local people are able to continue to access library services.
“Closing libraries would be disastrous so making a 20 per cent saving by working together is the best solution.”
For more information about Telford & Wrekin Libraries, visit www.telford.gov.uk/libraries.