Plymouth City Council, run by a Conservative and UKIP coalition, is proposing to shut 10 of its 17 libraries as part of a cost-saving measure, according to ITV.
According to the broadcaster, the council is facing a funding gap of £65m over three years so has produced a draft ‘Plan for Libraries’, which it says will modernise the city’s library services to meet the needs of local communities.
The council claims seven libraries in the area account for 80% of all library visits and 75% of items borrowed, so is proposing to close the other 10 library buildings. The “majority” of Plymouth residents will still live within two miles of a library building, it claims.
The draft document also outlines plans to redevelop and modernise St Budeaux Library, enhance online services and expand the home library service for housebound users.
Councillor Glenn Jordan, cabinet member for culture, said: “Many of our libraries are under-used with little or no scope for development but changes in technology mean we don’t need to be constrained by our buildings; services can be delivered online and out in communities.
“The draft plan sets out a future for library services that will ensure all our buildings are modern and fit-for-purpose, as well as provide an exciting online offer, available 24/7 and a wide-ranging outreach service out that can be more responsive to community needs.”
However, labour councillors have protested against the plans. Councillor Jonny Morris told the Plymouth Herald: "This ‘Blukip’ Council has made some pretty appalling attacks on the people of Plymouth, but closing libraries is what barbarians do.”