It’s a story being repeated too often in the western world right now. Local libraries, open for many years, the very hub of their communities, are being closed by cities desperate to make strained budgets work. And since you can’t eat a book or drive on it libraries are being closed in record numbers.
But what if there was another way? From the Liverpool Echo:
City council in Liverpool, England think they may just have done that. Five libraries are currently being prepared to be handed over to be run by community groups. It’s a novel approach that experts think has every possibility of working.
The plans are part of wider cost-cutting measures by the council and follows a reprieve for 11 closure-threatened community libraries last year after extra cash was found.
Earlier this year the council approved plans for seven of those libraries previously identified as being at risk of closure to be run by community groups.
According to council documents five of these libraries “are nearing readiness to be taken on and managed directly by community based organisations”.
And the savings to the city are going to be huge.
Liverpool council says its financial settlement from central government for 2014 to 2017 means it has £156m less to deliver all services by 2016/17.