Longer opening hours, extra cash for books and money to help communities stepping forward are all part of a new library package being proposed by Gloucestershire County Council. Under the renewed plans an extra £500,000 is being proposed for the library budget to give communities a better deal.
The additional funding equates to an extra 10% on top of the proposed £4.8m budget taking the new budget to £5.3m, which should have a significant impact on the communities affected by the changes.
The council has listened to people’s comments during the library consultation process and the new package has been designed to reflect that.
The additional money will mean extra opening hours for the county’s most popular Library Express services:
- Bishops Cleeve – from 28 hours/3.5days to 40 hours/six days
- Quedgeley – from 28 hours/3.5 days to 35 hours/five days
- Hucclecote – from 28 hours/3.5 days to 35 hours/five days
- Longlevens – from 28 hours/3.5 days to 35 hours/five days
- Up Hatherley – from 28 hours/3.5 days to 35 hours/five days
- Charlton Kings – from 28 hours/3.5 days to 35 hours/five days
It will be up to the communities to decide when they want to open, but it will give them the opportunity to open at weekends or during the evening. There will be a one-off extra £100,000 to buy books, e.books audio and other stock this year and a one-off pot of £50,000 to help with transition costs for community libraries. The council has already held talks with many community groups who are interested in stepping forward and plans are developing well.
As a result, there will also be an additional £10,000 for each library which is being offered to communities to help groups build-up their plans. In addition to this they will have ongoing access to IT and through the virtual library to the county library service books and information resources.
This year there was an increase in the number of people who pay council tax which generated additional income for the council. The council is proposing to use this extra money to add to the library budget to make these changes possible. Cllr Antonia Noble, cabinet member for caring and community services, said:
“We have always made it clear this process is a consultation and that people’s views would count.
“We have listened to what the people of Gloucestershire have told us and we’re acting on what they said.
“This extra funding will give local communities better access to their local libraries and more peace of mind to those thinking of taking on a community library.
“The council will continue to work with the Library Links to develop them with volunteers and the community with the aim of increasing opening hours even further.”
These proposals will have to be approved by Cabinet on Wednesday (2nd February) and then as part of the council’s overall budget for 2011/12 at full council meeting on 16th February.
- The total proposed libraries budget is £5.3m for 2011/12.
- The budget for 2010/11 was £5.8m, which is an annual reduction of £551,000 or roughly 10%.
- The additional £500,000 being proposed will be split:
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