New strategy for Somerset libraries could save £860,000 in three years
A new strategy for Somerset’s libraries could see more funding for books and libraries becoming community hubs, as well as saving more than £860,000 in three years.
It could also lead to longer opening hours.
County council scrutiny committee members heard details of the review yesterday and discussed setting up pilot schemes where public services would share space in libraries, or communities could have a greater say in how their libraries are run.
The broad strategy was supported by the influential campaign group Friends of Somerset Libraries.
Chairman Peter Murphy said the review had been a “thorough” piece of work. “I am pleased that the Friends have engaged with this review and I would say that the engagement has been constructive on both sides,” he said.
The council’s spending on books is normally £200,000, but that will be increased by an extra £250,000 over the next two years, a sign of the commitment to maintaining the appeal of the county’s libraries.
Cabinet Member responsible for Libraries, Councillor David Hall, said there are a huge number of people across Somerset willing to become more involved with supporting their libraries, and he wanted to encourage more people to come forward.
“We are living in tight financial times and we should not lose sight of that,” he said.
“I believe this strategy will both save money and create a library service fit for the future. I am grateful for the involvement of all those people who have taken the trouble to come forward and be part of this work.”