Library service to be reviewed as council cuts costs
PUBLISHED: 06:40 28 July 2014
LIBRARY services are to be reviewed in a money-saving exercise, barely a year after the councillor in charge of them said no cuts were 'on the horizon'.
An internal review is being carried out by North Somerset Council over the coming weeks as the authority looks for fresh ways to cut costs.
Councillor Felicity Baker, executive member for libraries, told the Mercury during the official opening at Weston Town Hall in April 2013 that there were no plans to reduce the budget further.
However Congresbury Parish Council has been told by the district authority that it is in the process of reviewing its library service, with outsourcing to another provider a possibility.
A council spokesman told the Mercury this week that no decisions have been made.
He said: “This is an internal review to ensure that we fully understand the real costs and benefits of the provision of the library service in North Somerset.
“The review is gathering data and other relevant information, but is not setting out any specific detailed options or courses of action to be taken.
“There are no proposals for any significant changes to the library service and library service budgets within current forward plans.
“Congresbury Library is managed in partnership with the parish council, with support from local volunteers.
“At a recent meeting we provided an outline of the internal review, and discussed the pressures facing libraries nationally, along with the range of solutions being sought by other local authorities, such as outsourcing and greater community management.
“We believe the model of how the service is delivered at Congresbury is a positive one, which continues to benefit from the support of North Somerset library staff, and there are no plans to change this.”
North Somerset currently operates libraries at Weston Town Hall, The For All Healthy Living Centre on the Bournville estate and The Campus, and in Worle, Yatton, Congresbury and Winscombe, as well as five in the north of the district.
The council needs to save a further £53million by 2018 although more than £30million worth of savings have been identified.