Fife libraries threatened with closure

Fife libraries threatened with closure

Fife is considering the closure of 16 libraries, along with the loss of 25 jobs.

Libraries in the area are already run by a separate body to the council, called the Fife Cultural Trust. The trust is looking to cut costs of £813,000, after the council reduced the management fee paid to the body. The council itself is attempting to reduce a £77m budget gap.

Fife currently has 51 libraries along with three mobile libraries and a housebound service.

Under the proposals that will be considered by councillors next month, 16 libraries could be closed as the structure moves to a "hub and spoke" model", with larger hub libraries open for 40 hours or more each week, and smaller spoke libraries open for between 20 and 40 hours a week. "Satellite" libraries will be open for less than 20 hours, while others will be closed.

Liverpool previously considered a hub and spoke model, but the scale of the closures was reduced following community protest and the involvement of volunteer groups.

The trust has said that is does not expect there to be any compulsory redundancies, and believes the proposed system will mean the service is better targeted and more accessible.

Heather Stuart, Fife Cultural Trust chief executive, told Fife Today: “The proposed new system will build upon the strengths of Fife’s existing library service, while finally addressing the weaknesses and inefficiencies that have crept in over the decades… Ultimately, this is about turning a substantial financial challenge into an opportunity to create a better library services for families across Fife."

Council leader David Ross said: “Along with every other council service, the cultural trust has no alternative but to reduce costs.”