EVESHAM’S library looks set to be spared the axe in a Worcestershire-wide review of libraries after cash-strapped county council chiefs admitted cuts would have to be made to the service.
Members of the County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve plans on Thursday (October 18) for sweeping changes to the county’s libraries with a number being recommended to be moved from their current site out of the council’s control.
However the Oat Street library looks set to be spared any cuts after council chiefs decided it was one of five across the county which provided value for money together with Redditch, Malvern, Kidderminster and Bromsgrove.
High visitor numbers have also been highlighted as a further reason to ensure the library is retained in the heart of the town centre.
Council chiefs have proposed sweeping changes to the service including the introduction of ‘Open Libraries’ which use self-service machines, meaning people can still access all services at their local library and they can stay open for longer.
Coun Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for Communities, said: “The role of libraries within our local communities has been changing now for over a decade.
“A lot of good work has already been done to get communities in Worcestershire more involved so that services at local libraries can be sustained for the benefit of everyone.
“It’s more important than ever before that communities come together and get more involved to ensure provision can be maintained at libraries.
“We also need to look at more co-location of libraries and sharing space with other organisations so services remain at the heart of our communities.”
Vic Allison, deputy Managing Director at Wychavon District Council, said: “We want to work with the County Council to identify opportunities for the creative use of library space and we will be actively supporting the consultation to help engage the views of local communities.”
To shape the proposals, background work has gone into looking closely at each library in Worcestershire to see what services are currently provided and exactly who is using them.
Subject to approval by cabinet, a 90-day public consultation will be launched at the end of October to seek the views of residents and community groups before a final decision is made in the spring.
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