COUNTY council chiefs have welcomed the decision by Worcester City Council to approve £157,000 a year to fund the running costs of both St John’s and Warndon libraries.
The future of several of Worcestershire’s libraries have been heavily discussed over the last few months, as almost 2,000 residents had their say on the future of libraries as part of the County Council’s public consultation.
The consultation, which officially ended in February 2019, allowed for open discussions with residents regarding the best way to keep individual libraries in the county evolving, whilst providing modern services for residents and ensuring value for money.
Considerable progress has been made over recent years in modernising Worcestershire’s library services to ensure value for money.
A Libraries’ Transformation programme was launched by the Council in 2011 which has seen over £3.7m of efficiency savings made through community support for libraries, sharing library buildings with other local services, making changes to the Mobile Library service, streamlining staff and management structures, investing in self-service technology and modernising stock buying and delivery.
Coun Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for Communities said: “It’s great news that Worcester City Council have agreed to contribute towards the running costs of both St John’s and Warndon libraries. We look forward to working with them closely in the future, as we continue to shape the way the county’s libraries are run.
“I’d like to once again thank all local residents who took part in the library consultation; the survey feedback and discussions held at libraries across the county will prove invaluable as we move the transformation forward.
“We are now analysing all of the feedback from the consultation, emails we received and comments from the drop-in sessions and these will be presented to Cabinet in July, along with a number of different options for the service going forward.”
Coun Alan Amos echoed her comments and said: “I’m delighted we have now been able to announce that St. John’s Library will be staying open and operating on the same basis as it is now.
“As an avid book lover myself, I am a keen supporter of libraries and I know how strongly my constituents felt about keeping our local library open as it is a true community facility and more than just a library. It is an integral and much-loved and much-valued part of our community.
“So I am pleased we have confirmed its future. In fact, though, it was never down for closure so it was disappointing to have heard so many dishonest statements.
“I worked very hard and continuously behind the scenes throughout the process to ensure we got a deal with our partners on the City Council to maintain the status quo. We can now concentrate on developing the Library for even wider educational and community uses,” he added.