PROTECTING THE FUTURE OF OUR LIBRARY
Bedford Borough Executive has made a
commitment not to close any libraries despite over 340 libraries
closing across the country over the last 6 years.
However, with significant and on-going
Government cuts squeezing the Council, savings have to be made.
From 2015/16 to 2019/20, the main Government grant to the Council
will be cut from £30million to £5.8million – an 80% reduction.
While the Council has, and will continue to work to reduce running
costs, difficult decisions have to be taken.
A Report to Bedford Borough Council’s
Executive recommends the introduction of ‘Library Plus’ at Central
Library, Bromham Library and Wootton Library. The ‘Library Plus’
Model came as a result of consultation and from looking at best
practice across the country. The model will enable the Council to
make the necessary savings to deal with Government cuts, while
providing longer opening hours at more convenient times.
Cllr Sarah-Jayne Holland, Portfolio Holder for
Leisure and Culture, said: “The high level of engagement from local
people was extremely welcome and shows the strength of support
which we have in deciding not to close libraries. It became clear
during consultation and public meetings that users at some of our
local libraries were concerned about the Library Plus model, so it
is not being recommended for introduction at those libraries.
Instead, it is recommended that it be introduced at our Central
Library where there is the presence of security staff.”
A trial is proposed for Bromham and Wootton
Libraries where users felt that the model could work for them.
Cllr Holland added: “Having listened to users,
the report recommends not introducing the Library Plus model at
Putnoe and Kempston Libraries, but rather reducing opening hours in
order to meet the level of savings required. These are difficult
decisions that we all hoped we would not have to take. However, the
level and persistence of Government cuts has made it