Notts looks for library volunteers

Notts looks for library volunteers

Community groups in Nottinghamshire are being invited to come forward to discuss running libraries in the county.

The county council has asked people to respond to its "Redefining Your Council" framework, which outlines  potential ways the council can make £154m in budget savings across the next three years.

Council leader Alan Rhodes has said that the library service will have to change in future, but said the council declined to make outright cuts to its 60 libraries when the plans were proposed.

He told the Nottingham Post: "We were faced with the prospect of closing 44 libraries – that was put to us by officers. We said no to that, it was a red line issue. I don't want to be the council leader that closed all the libraries in Notts." He added that the proposals would have garnered the council £83m in savings.

However, while the council has previously pledged its commitment to safeguarding its libraries, Rhodes added that there would have to be changes, with more community groups and bodies such as parish councils taking on the running of some buildings.

Rhodes said: "People are less concerned about who delivers the service and more about the quality of the delivery… In Misterton, we went to the parish council and put our proposals to them.They were sceptical at first and had concerns about being saddled with it. Once we had assured them the support would still be there, they recognised the potential. It's innovative thinking and will save that service."

The council has already agreed plans for a community-run library in Annesley Woodhouse, where Ashfield Community Radio and Media Training will run a community partnership library.

Councillor John Knight said: "We are totally committed to our libraries service. In the context of the difficult budget decisions we are having to make across the board as a county council, we need to look at increasingly innovative and creative ways to run our library services – while still offering people a fairer deal… what works for one community, may not work for another. We said at the outset when we announced our budget proposals that we would not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to community partnership libraries.”