Council to review future of library services

The future of library services across Bradford is under review in the face of an “avalanche of cuts” from the Government, a senior councillor warned today.

Bradford Council, which last month revealed plans to save £44,000 by cutting library opening hours, is also carrying out a study of all sites in the district as it looks at ways to save cash.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Council portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “We are looking at all the libraries, their usage and where they should be placed. That review is going to be finished next March.

“We are looking at library services and making them fit for the future, but that is in the context of massive cuts from the Government.”

Last year, four libraries in the district were transferred to community management, with Heaton Library closing its doors permanently, as the Council unveiled a £30 million package of cuts.

Coun Hinchcliffe, who last week joined a celebration at Wrose Library to mark its first year under community ownership, said volunteers at the community-run library continued to receive support from the Council.

“Where this has happened in other parts of the country, local authorities have left them to it.

“In Bradford, we have got a model where community volunteers are supported by the central library to give them help and advice and they remain very much part of the library network.

“Libraries are a real asset to our community, but it’s a challenge when faced with an avalanche of cuts.”

The Council last year spent £7,017,582 on its libraries, which include 35 service points with three mobile libraries and three home delivery vehicles. The service issued 1,583,681 books and other items and received 1,718,967 visits.

Research published today by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy found Yorkshire and Humberside experienced a 4.6 per cent reduction in its total expenditure, but a 5.8 per cent reduction in the number of service points.

Huddersfield Library retained its title of the region’s most visited library with 757,229 visitors, but Harrogate Library beat Sheffield Central Library to become the library that issued the most items in the year.

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