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Councils set to merge library services

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Library services across 14 West Midland councils are in line to be merged under new cost-cutting plans which are due to be unveiled today.

Library services across 14 West Midland councils are in line to be merged under new cost-cutting plans which are due to be unveiled today.

The Society of Chief Librarians in the region has commissioned consultants to carry out a review into how back office functions could be shared.

It comes on the same day as the cabinets of the four Black Country boroughs were meeting for the first time to discuss sharing services in a bid to save up to £70 million each over five years.

Hundreds of people work in council libraries services. There are 138 full-time equivalent posts in Dudley alone with 121 in Sandwell.

Unnecessarily duplicated back office library functions across the 14 councils, such as stock supply chain, computers, library management systems, specialist services, training, policy, quality and standards, and inquiries may be merged.

The councils involved include Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham.

Janene Cox, a former librarian, and now the strategic commissioner for culture and leisure at Staffordshire County Council, said today: "Like many organisations, the economy drives our budget but has also given us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves."

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