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Staffordshire libraries will go unmanned in £1.3m cuts

By Carl Jackson | Staffordshire | News | Published:

Cuts worth £1.3 million will be made to libraries in Staffordshire from next year – with 20 to be self-service, under plans.

Libraries face £1.3m cuts with 20 to be self-service under plans

Staffordshire County Council has ruled out closing venues but could not guarantee jobs would not be lost stating it was ‘too early’ to speculate on future staffing needs.

And now 20 of the county’s 43 libraries could become self-service between 8am to 10am and 5pm-8pm and staffed 10am-5pm.

Communities chief Councillor Gill Heath said: “Staffordshire’s library service is very important to us all, but the way people are using it is changing all the time and we must change with it to provide as flexible a service as possible that meets the needs of Staffordshire residents.

“Self-service is already up and running in other areas. We can look at what works well and how we might adapt that for use in Staffordshire to extend opening times and choice.”

It comes after the authority implemented a new ‘model’ last year for 23 libraries to be taken over by community groups in order to save £1.7m.

But now the council wants to save nearly the same amount again between 2018 and 2021, with changes set to come to the remaining libraries under their control including Cannock, Burntwood, Codsall, Lichfield, Penkridge, Perton, Rugeley, Stafford, Stone and Wombourne among others.

Self-service libraries are used in other parts of the country such as Leicestershire and Oxfordshire and works by libraries automatically ‘powering up’ when a member over the age of 16 registered to use it swipes in using an access card.

But the venue is only monitored by CCTV and support is offered from a telephone help desk.

The council is in the early stages of working up formal proposals which will be put out to public consultation next year.

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson
@CarlJackson_LDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Birmingham City Council.

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