Bradford libraries saved in council U-turn

Bradford libraries saved in council U-turn

Bradford Council has reversed planned £1.05m cuts to its libraries but says some services could still be moved to other buildings in a bid to make them financially viable.

The service, which has 29 facilities, had faced a review by the local authority with the aim of making savings, leading to a strike by members of the Unite union. But the council confirmed this week that those cuts should no longer be made, partly thanks to a £700,000 injection from public health funds.

Bradford Council has now started a consultation on the future direction of its libraries but said, though all 29 locations would keep their service, a minority may move into other buildings.

It warned the current model on its own is not financially sustainable in the long term and feedback from a previous consultation shows residents wanted to see libraries “evolving and being more connected to communities”.

Under new plans, libraries will be tailored to their areas in the future, providing things like health services, social care bases and additional council functions on top of providing books and computer facilities, the council said.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby,  executive member for healthy people and places, said: “The funding from public health allows us to maintain our existing library offer and residents will still be able to access a local library in future.

“However, we still face the reality of years of cuts and cannot afford for the service to stand still and continue to operate in its current form. The changes we are proposing build on many of the things libraries already deliver in terms of delivering wider council priorities, for instance, improving the health and wellbeing of residents.

“We will continue talking and listening to residents and our aim for the future is to provide a library service which meets the specific local needs of each community we serve.”