Warwickshire library consultation: A week to go

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THE 12-week consultation on proposals for radical change to Warwickshire’s Library and Information Service is drawing to a close.

All consultation questionnaires, whether handed in at a library or completed online, have to be in by Thursday, June 9.

The consultation aims to give people the opportunity to have their say on plans to reshape the library network and cut costs.

Cllr Colin Hayfield, portfolio holder for customers, workforce and partnerships, said: “This will be the biggest transformation in the history of Warwickshire’s library service so I urge local people to make their views known by returning the consultation questionnaire before the June 9 deadline.”

The Library and Information Service must cut spending by £2 million over the next three years as part of Warwickshire County Council’s plans to achieve required savings of more than £70m across all services.

Sixteen Warwickshire libraries have been identified as no longer sustainable in their current form, alongside other cost-cutting measures including reduced opening hours, reductions in the workforce and mobile library fleet, and cutting the number of public computers across the library network.

So far the consultation has seen more than 3,000 questionnaires returned, of which 1,500 have been written questionnaires, while more than 1,700 have been completed online.

Cllr Hayfield said there had been strong interest from a number of communities interested in setting up their own libraries. “

As well as offering staff support to communities preparing business plans, the county council has set aside £100,000 to help volunteer-run library projects get off the ground,” he said. “We are also prepared, in principle, to consider leasing council-owned library buildings at a peppercorn rent to communities submitting a strong business case.”

All consultation feedback received by June 9 will be analysed and reported to Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet in July.

The report will be made public at the same time. Councillors will consider the contents before making any final decisions on the future of the library service.

More information, along with the library consultation questionnaire, is available in all Warwickshire libraries and online at: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/facingthechallenge

Consultation progress can also be followed by Twitter www.twitter.com/warksdirect or via the consultation blog at www.libraryconsult.wordpress.com EndsFor more information contact the WCC newsdesk on 01926

413727 or email: newsteam@warwickshire.gov.uk.