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Library plans a step closer

Posted onPosted on 27th May
Library plans a step closer

Councillors will discuss progress on Nottinghamshire County Council’s plans to establish an independent charitable body or trust to deliver its libraries, archives, arts and community learning services at its next Culture Committee meeting on 3rd June.

The council agreed plans at February’s Full Council meeting to move the delivery of its library service to an organisation at arm’s length, to give people a greater say in the running of their local library, reduce costs, enable the service to become more enterprising and apply for new sources of funding as a charitable body or trust.

Library buildings, book stock, and other key assets would remain in the ownership of the council, which would also maintain the duty to provide a library service and control what the service provided through a legal agreement and contract.

Nottinghamshire’s proposals form part of a three-year plan for the library service which it believes would help save £1m for the authority which must save £154m over three years due to Government cuts.

Coun John Knight, Culture Committee chairman, said: “We are passionate about doing all in our power to safeguard our library services in the face of the budget challenge that is facing the whole authority.

“The proposal for an arm’s length operating model to deliver our library service which was agreed at Full Council in February is about providing a sustainable, modern and accessible library service for all.

“We are committed to modernising our library service, and this gives us the opportunity to be more enterprising and creative to achieve this to benefit our library users and communities.”

Following the progress report to the Culture Committe, a public engagement plan will begin to inform public opinion and gather views of customers, stakeholders and the wider community.

There has already been a staff engagement about the proposals in recent months and senior council leaders see the proposals as part of the council’s recently published consultation ‘Redefining Your Council’.

Elsewhere in England, Suffolk Libraries’ Industrial Provident Society and York Explore Community Benefit Society are two examples where an independent charitable body has taken on the delivery of public libraries under contract to their local authority. Nottinghamshire County Council would develop a model that best suits Nottinghamshire and its communities.