Cheshire East puts forward new proposals for library cuts

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Proposals for how Cheshire East's libraries could be run in the future will be discussed next week in order to make £600k in savings over the next two years.

A report will be presented to Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee putting forward an updated draft strategy for the borough's libraries which will include a tiering system for how library services will be run.

The council must make savings in library services of more than £600k over the next two years to support the council's medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) 2024-2028. The MTFS needs to achieve budget savings of £100 million to continue offering support to Cheshire East's most vulnerable residents.

The proposed tier system for libraries is:

Tier one – Congleton, Crewe, Macclesfield, Nantwich and Wilmslow.

These sites would become 'library hubs' and continue to provide the core library services along with free support around health, employment, skills, education and personal finance, and host other services, such as banking hubs.

Tier two – Alsager, Holmes Chapel, Knutsford, Middlewich, Poynton and Sandbach.

These sites would continue to offer the core library and customer services, with revised opening hours to focus on when the libraries are busiest.

Tier three – Alderley Edge, Bollington, Disley and Handforth.

These sites would be known as 'community libraries' and act as customer service points and offer a small range of activities. They would be staffed by Cheshire East Council employees for up to 1.5 days during the week.

The council is engaging with community organisations and town and parish councils to explore opportunities for them to operate library services in their local areas during the remainder of the week.

Tier four - existing mobile library and the home library service.

These will delivered by volunteers and offered to those residents who are unable to leave their homes.

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "The draft libraries strategy has been developed following the library service review held last year.

"Feedback from a public consultation held at the time showed that libraries are very important to our residents.

"However, major financial challenges mean there is far less money available to spend. We must look at a different way of running our libraries so that we can still offer these valued services in the places where demand and need is greatest.

"In doing this, it provides us with opportunities to invest in our core sites, explore how we can use them to generate income, and to use new technologies so library services are more accessible to our residents.

"It also gives us the opportunity to deliver a service that's in partnership with our local communities, and to look at how library and other council services – such as those offering support around health and employment – can be delivered in a more joined up way.

Subject to approval by committee on 18 July, the public consultation on the libraries strategy is expected to launch in August.

After considering the feedback from the consultation, final proposals for libraries will be developed and brought back to committee in autumn.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Deborah Slade
Thursday 11th July 2024 at 9:19 am
Cutting libraries is a dangerous mistake. Literacy and the enjoyment of reading, along with all the other services the library provides are essential to large numbers of residents, especially children. Find the money by getting rid of some of the ridiculous jobs within the council. When can we vote these incompetents out?
Tony Haluradivth
Monday 15th July 2024 at 9:40 pm
Salaries go up and up for the chief executives and their parachuted in Temps. Utterly shameful CEC ...hang your heads low. What a vile lot you are
Liza Redmond-Bradley
Monday 15th July 2024 at 11:30 pm
Handforth from 1st January 2025, one and a half day opening.
Change.org there is a petition to stop Handforth Library closure.
Heard news of C.E.C going Bancrupt!. If so will C.E merge with Manchester?

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