BRADFORD Council is still aiming to keep its current libraries open, despite huge cuts to the service - a committee has been told.

But changes could include reduced opening hours or libraries being run by volunteers.

Members of the Council's Bradford South Area Committee were given an update on major shake up plans for the District's libraries at a meeting on Thursday.

The Council plans to cut the budget for the District's libraries by £1.05 million in the 2020/21 financial year.

The current budget is £2.824 million.

At Thursday's meting, Jacqui Buckley, Change Assurance Lead, gave members an update on the cuts - particularly how they will relate to the Bradford South area. She said: "There were cuts of £950,000 in 2019/20, but these didn't lead to any library closures.

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"In terms of 2020/21 the budget will reduce by £1.05 million, so the transformation will have to be even more radical."

She said a "needs assessment" would be carried out for each library, looking at changing demographics of different areas and the views of library users.

She said: "We'll be creating a profile for each library looking at things like the cost of providing the service and how well used they are. This will all help shape what libraries will look like in the future.

"We realise we have not shared enough information with the public to get them to work with us. It is really important that we do share that information."

She said a public survey on the libraries would begin on October 7.

Mrs Buckley said: "We will be looking at options such as transferring libraries to community groups.

"The Council's commitment is still to retain all 29 libraries and we're trying very hard to make that happen. We can't do that to continue delivering them as they are now.

"We are looking at more innovative solutions than closures. It may be that the community libraries are more sustainable. We're looking at perhaps partnering with other organisations, possibly getting support form public health to make libraries hubs for the community.

"We may see reduced opening times, we could look to create a more open access system. There are a range of options, but we need to make sure the public are informed."

The public consultation is likely to run from November to January.

Members suggested that consultation events take place in a variety of places, such as supermarkets, rather than just being limited to libraries.

Councillor Andrew Thornton (Lab, Royds) said: "I would question relying too heavily on the usage of individual libraries - that is the road to disaster.

"It is a bit like busses - if bus companies look at a route that isn't popular, they cut the frequency. Then even fewer people use the bus and the service gets cut. That's what could happen with the libraries. If you cut hours people will use those libraries even less.

"We need to be engaging with people who don't use libraries and figure out why they don't"

Other Councillors urged the service to engage with as many young people as possible before making any decisions.

Chair Councillor Alan Wainwright (Lab, Tong) said: "I would like to remind everyone that these cuts are down to 10 years of austerity and hard line government cuts. We just don't have the money."