Hertfordshire and Gateshead cuts to impact libraries

Hertfordshire and Gateshead cuts to impact libraries

Hertfordshire County Council has approved library plans which will see more volunteer involvement in the library service.

The council's cabinet approved plans this week that will cut £2.5m a year from the council's library budgets. However, the council said that the plans will mean "all of Hertfordshire's 46 libraries will stay open".

The key changes will see all libraries in the county assigned into one of three tiers. Those in tier one, located in large town centres, will offer the broadest stock and service and have the longest opening hours, while tier two libraries will offer "core" services and stock.

Meanwhile, tier three libraries will now be "managed in partnership with local communities", with only seven of these retaining paid library staff. The county's mobile library service will also be discontinued, and replaced with an expanded home library service.

Gateshead Council has also announced cuts to its library service, claiming that no libraries will close, but many will see opening hours reduced and funding for volunteer libraries slashed in half.

Bristol is also considering making cuts to its library budget, with seven libraries facing the axe as the city looks to save £1.1m by 2016/17. Around 40 jobs are under threat if the plans are approved next month.