Wokingham looks to privatise libraries

Wokingham looks to privatise libraries

Wokingham borough council plans to begin discussions this month with private companies interested in taking over the running of the borough's libraries.

According to a report in the Wokingham Times, the council's executive member for internal services, councillor UllaKarin Clark, said she hoped to have between three and six interested organisations by early August. "We will then begin a more detailed discussion known as competitive dialogue," she said.

Private running of the Berkshire borough's libraries, which is intended to save the council £170,000 a year, could be in place by May 2012, making Wokingham one of the first local authorities in the country to outsource its library service.

Local campaigners have criticised the development, saying there has been no public consultation on the move. A petition has been launched on the Save Wokingham Libraries website.