Sandwell libraries face jobs axe in cut to budget

Libraries in Sandwell face further staff cuts and reduced opening hours in a bid to deliver hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of savings, a new report reveals.

Libraries in Sandwell face further staff cuts and reduced opening hours in a bid to deliver hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of savings, a new report reveals.

Borough library budgets have already been slashed by almost £900,000 in the past two years, but Sandwell Council must save a further £488,000 over the next two years. Leisure chiefs are now being asked to look at a number of options to meet budget savings for 2013/14.

At a meeting next week Sandwell’s leisure boss, Councillor Linda Horton, will discuss the Library Innovation and Evaluation Plan Final Report which provides options and makes recommendations to be considered in the delivery of library services to meet the budget savings required for the next financial year.

So far, savings to library costs have been mainly made through reducing staffing levels, driven largely by the investment in self-service, more efficient timetabling and a leaner management structure.

But now the council is being asked to look at other ways to cut down on costs.

Options to be considered include replacing static libraries with ‘express’ libraries or reducing opening hours.

Another suggestion is to co-locate with another service or organisation to reduce building and staffing costs.