Wem library upgraded after public consultation

Reporter:

Lucy Wain

 

Whitchurch Library is in the top tier, which means it will be funded and staffed by Shropshire Council and is used as a multifunctional space. Ellesmere Library is in tier two, which means it is staffed by volunteers and has support from a professional librarian services.

After the public consultation, it was recommended that Wem Library was increased from tier three to tier two as was frequently used and popular in the town.

Originally the strategy stated that funding to tier two libraries would be tapered over three years until it become self-funded, and those in tier three had only one year to become self-funded.

However the public consultation has enforced a change in the amount of time the two-tier libraries will have to become self-funded, with tier two increasing to five years and tier three increasing to three.

Shropshire Councillor Lezley Picton, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “We were really pleased with the responses, they were very constructive and we have really listened to the comments.

“We’ve extended the amount of time libraries have to become funded because the comments from the public showed that it was not enough time to become fully self-funded.”

Mobile libraries run by Shropshire Council has reduced from four to three, which will now be calling at 281 stops as opposed to the previous 277 which was first suggested in the strategy.

“The consultation allowed us to see which stops were being used and which weren’t, so although we’ve decreased from 354 which we have currently, it’s an improvement on our first strategy draft,” continued Cllr Picton.

Over the past three years, over £1 million has been saved through libraries. Shropshire Council have a budget of £2.2m for libraries which they want to see going towards the regeneration of libraries by making them multifunctional.

George Candler, director of place and enterprise, said: “We can safely say that there will be no redundancies and no libraries closing.

“We want to thank Town and Parish Councils for their help throughout the consultation. We have been able to work with communities to keep services going, which will benefit both the community and its volunteers and us as Council.”

The strategy is due to go to cabinet on Wednesday.

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