EXCLUSIVE: Library thrown lifeline as people power convinces South Glos to offer alternative to closure

Published on: 30 Aug 2016

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People power may have saved Filton Library.

The campaign to save the library in the face of South Glos cost savings has led officers to propose a new option called 'Open Plus' which would mean the library would be open for nearly 80 hours each week.

However for much of this time there would be vastly reduced staffing levels with many services being carried out by users themselves, such as checking out books. Security measures will be ever-present.

Councillors will next week be recommended to accept this after the public consultation of more than 3,000 responses made it clear that large scale closures were not an option.

Filton was facing possible closure with the nearest services to be confined to 'hubs' at Patchway and Bradley Stoke.

A huge public effort in Filton included protests outside the library and ton councillor Joanne Ward gave an impassioned speech in defence of the library at a South Glos council meeting.

In total the council received 3,644 survey responses as well as 94 letters and emails, 123 letters from children, two posters, and 13 petitions along with significant amount of feedback from public roadshows and through social media. There were also representations from political parties and parish councils.

Full story in next month's issue.

 

The original proposals were:

 

  • Option 1: could affect Chipping Sodbury Library, the mobile library and opening times at all libraries across South Gloucestershire. We would seek volunteers and alternative external funding to minimise the reduction in opening hours on a local basis. We estimate that this option would save approx. £500,000 per year, meaning that additional savings would still need to be found from library or other council services.
  • Option 2: could see Chipping Sodbury library and the mobile library no longer funded by South Gloucestershire Council as per option one and libraries categorised as either a main library or a satellite library and resourced accordingly. External funding and volunteers could be used to minimise the impact of reduced staffing and opening hours. This option would deliver savings in the realm of £600,000 to £630,000 per annum and is the council’s preferred option at this stage as it keeps as many libraries open as possible, while delivering significant savings.
  • Option 3: could see all libraries closed except five main libraries. These are currently proposed as Kingswood, Yate, Patchway, Thornbury and Bradley Stoke.   It would deliver savings in the realms of £1m.

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