£1.9m in cuts put future of Hagley Library at risk

Hagley Library is under threat of closure as council bosses draw up plans to make £1.9 million of cuts over the next two years.

£1.9m in cuts put future of Hagley Library at risk

Options being discussed include shutting the library and replacing it with a mobile service. Other options being considered are transfering the running costs to Hagley Parish Council with the aim of moving the library to a proposed 'community hub' in the village at a later date, or keeping it as it currently is.

Worcestershire County Council's libraries and learning service needs to make the savings by 2015/18.

Hagley Parish Council chairman Steve Colella, who has described the library as 'essential' said he had been informed by the county council that the venue was at risk of closure as part of a review services.

The county's council's strategic libraries and learning manager, Kathy Kirk said it was looking at ways to maintain the library at a reduced cost and discussions had taken place with the parish council.

Mr Colella said: "Hagley Library Service is essential and is of great importance not only to the people of Hagley but also people from the surrounding areas.

"The outcome of a review of library services in Hagley is being prepared by Worcestershire County Council and will spell out the proposed recommendations to their cabinet.

"County overall budgets have to be cut by £30m with library service running costs requiring to be cut by half.

"I have been told that there is a risk that Hagley library will close and be replaced by a mobile library service, unless support can be found to bridge the service budget deficit.

"I do not want this to happen and the parish council will be looking at ways in which it can step in to support the continuation of the service in the existing building.

"However, any support the parish council gives must not leave it with future insurmountable debts and without problems landing in the lap of the parish council whilst the county council walks away.

Mrs Kirk said: "We are working closely with parish and district councils across Worcestershire to try to ensure library services remain at reduced costs.

"With regards to Hagley Library, we are in early discussions with potential interested parties and will engage with the local community as soon as any proposals emerge".

In 2012 the library celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Elsewhere in the region, cutbacks have already been made at Kidderminster Library.

Last year the county council approved plans to convert the top floor gallery area into offices for social service staff to save cash.

A total of 139 staff from the authority's adult and social care and children's services departments, who work flexible hours, will be relocated to the library from county council-owned premises in the town.

A campaign group was set up to fight the plans but they were unsuccessful.

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