Bidding to take over the running of Staffordshire’s remaining community libraries begins today.
With 11 libraries already in the process of transferring to the community, applications for the remaining dozen can be made until July 29th.
Successful applicants will be supported by the county council to take over the day-to-day running and management of the library.
Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member responsible for libraries, said:
The application process is straightforward and there is a lot of support and training available before and after the transition so the library is still very much part of the Staffordshire family, rather than a single group working in isolation.
With use of traditional libraries falling markedly in recent years I believe this approach is the best way of revitalising them and keeping them relevant to the people they serve.
I want libraries not just to be a place of books, but a space that can be used by communities and the groups that succeed will be at the heart of driving that.”
Successful groups will have access to the library service’s stock and IT network, while the authority remains responsible for agreed utility and maintenance costs.
The dozen libraries involved in the second phase are at Audley, Brereton, Cheslyn Hay, Gnosall, Great Wyrley, Kinver, Knutton, Loggerheads, Shenstone, Silverdale, Talke and Wilnecote.
Applications are welcome from community groups or voluntary and public sector organisations. Much more information is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/communitylibraries .
Notes for editors
It’s expected that successful second phase applicants will take responsibility by April 2017.
The decision to divide the libraries estate between 20 managed and delivered directly by the county council and 23 managed and delivered by community groups or voluntary and public sector organisations was made after two rounds of public consultation and a further round with library staff during 2014.
Staffordshire has 43 libraries. None has closed or been under threat of closure since the consultation process began in 2014. The review was sparked by the number of people borrowing books falling by a fifth over three years, while online use increased, and physical visits declining by almost 12 per cent.