Notts: Libraries escape axe in council budget plans

Councillor John Knight

Councillor John Knight

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Libraries across Bassetlaw have escaped the axe despite Notts County Council facing huge budget savings.

The local authority can achieve £1 million savings, partly through a plan to preserve smaller libraries through a community partnership approach.

The plans, which will be consulted on, would protect core library services, whilst enabling smaller local libraries to continue to be at the heart of communities.

To support this approach a one-off investment to support community partnership libraries will be made from the library capital refurbishment programme.

The council is having to make savings of £154 million over the next three years, because of cuts in Government funding.

Earlier this week it unveiled its budget, made up of 122 proposals, affecting all council departments, including raising Council tax and axing jobs.

The county council has three tiers of libraries in the county. Tier one libraries are its largest libraries, including Worksop and Retford, while tier three libraries are the smallest and include ones in Carlton and Langold.

It is expected that the libraries most suitable for community partnership approaches would be the smaller libraries although the council would be open to proposals from all communities.

Councillor John Knight, committee chairman for culture at Notts County Council said: “We have been left with a monumental task of making savings in this hugely challenging budget but at the same time we are totally committed to our libraries and are working tirelessly to find ways of preserving our service to the public.”

“We are passionate that we do everything in our power to keep our libraries open. In the current climate of unprecedented cuts nationally, we are having to look for increasingly creative and innovative ways to run our services.”

“We are keen to work with communities to help provide the library services they want and we also want a fairer deal for library users so hope that these proposals can help.”

“We will ensure we will work with interested groups to design the best solution for each community. We will be setting aside a small amount of one off investment funding to support the best local solutions. It won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

If the proposals are approved, details of the consultation for the community partnership libraries would be announced in due course.