More than the half the libraries in Tameside, Greater Manchester, could be lost as the borough council looks to review its services.
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council has put out a consultation to their residents asking for their views on library restructuring, with options including cutting the number of libraries from 13 to just two flagship libraries, alongside a £250,000 investment in new technologies.
The council’s preferred option is to focus services on six town centre libraries, as well as creating one new library and relocating another. However, the opening hours at all the facilities would be slashed as the council looked to make savings.
Tameside's current annual library spend is £3.14million, with 74% of this spent on staffing, and 10% spent on materials such as books.
The council has also floated the idea of community groups being able to run their own library services, as long as they came at no cost to the council. Executive member for learning and achievement, Councillor Ged Clooney said: “I hope by now residents understand that the 30% cuts to our budgets that we have already sustained mean that we have to look at how we provide all our services to ensure they remain, modern, affordable and fit for the future.”
He added: “It is important to remember that libraries are about services not buildings,” before saying: “We want a solution that will be financially sustainable and that will allow us to invest in new technology such as electronic books which are becoming more and more popular and enable us to improve the service such as removing charges for reservations.”
More than half of the borough’s population, over 100,000 people, are registered as library users.
The consultation on its future will run until August 20th.