Library Service could be saved by harnessing community goodwill
Eight West Berkshire Libraries could remain open by harnessing the enthusiasm and goodwill of communities.
Issued on: 22 December 2016
This, and the addition of a small sum to Parish and Town Council precepts, a review of the Library Service has concluded.
West Berkshire Council ran the Library Service Review over the summer with the aim of identifying a sustainable operating model given the significant funding challenges faced by local authorities. The council has already been in discussion with Parish and Town Councils, community groups and local organisations about how they want to be involved in shaping the future of west Berkshire Libraries and about the need to raise £150k to take the plans forward. In order to achieve this, Parish and Town Councils have been asked to add a small amount as a per resident precept.
Speaking about the review Councillor Dominic Boeck, Executive Member for Culture, said: "More than 1200 people responded to the recent Library Service Review to help shape the future of our libraries in West Berkshire. It is resoundingly clear that local people want to be involved in saving this much valued service. Although we were faced with many challenges, it was hugely encouraging to see positive and innovative ideas coming through from Parish and Town Councils and communities who want to help deliver this much valued service.
"We are now analysing the responses ahead of a final decision. The future of libraries is in the hands of our communities and I now urge Parish and Town Councils to support the proposal by adding an amount to their precept. A small investment now will provide long term library service benefits."
A decision, based on the findings of the review and the responses from communities will be made at a special Council meeting on Tuesday 7 February 2017.