Future of district's libraries to be debated by Bradford Council (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Future of district's libraries to be debated by Bradford Council
The district’s libraries are coming under the spotlight as Bradford Council reveals which ones are most used and those hardly visited as part of a review into the service.
The figures have been revealed in a Library Services Strategic Options Review report going to the regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee next Thursday.
They also reflect the fact that Bradford Central Library, normally the most popular, has been closed since the end of 2011 after the building was found to be a fire risk. Its replacement will open in City Park in December.
The purpose of the report is to get the Council to agree an “operational model and delivery strategy for the next three years” which will see each library come under scrutiny.
Some could eventually be staffed by volunteers or be co-located elsewhere as the Council tries to cut costs in the wake of tough budget decisions which could see the mobile library service axed as £89 million of cuts have to be made over the next two financial years.
Recommendations being considered next week will include the need for consultation on any changes to the library service, which cost £3.3 million to run in 2012/13.
The report, which included 2,510 customer survey questionnaires completed in March, had already suggested getting rid of the mobile service as it is “not financially viable” and “focus placed on community engagement and involvement in or near every existing operational site”.
It also suggests a phased remodelling of the service over three years to include a maintained presence in every community, and a move towards greater community involvement.
The conclusions show it is “structurally possible to keep a library open in every locality that would lead to greater community involvement and improvements in financial efficiency”.
The report concludes that deprivation, measures of educational attainment and demographic data all indicate some wards within the district have a greater need for support than others.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe executive member for culture, said: “It is not our intention to do any static library closures at the moment. We use the community involvement model in Wilsden, Wrose and Addingham and they are all managed by volunteers.
She said no decisions would be made until full consultations were carried out with the public.
Coun Hinchcliffe also confirmed the new City Library will open on December 9.
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