Securing the Future of Bristol’s Library Service

Today Bristol City Council will discuss a last ditch rescue plan for 17 Bristol libraries threatened with closure put forward by Liberal Democrat councillors.

The Full Council meeting is expected to be crunch time for Bristol’s libraries with three major petitions as well as other smaller petitions calling for the Mayors proposed closure programme to be halted.

But Liberal Democrat Councillors have secured the council’s Golden Motion and used this to put forward an alternate plan to mass closure. You can read it here.

The plan is based on a model already successfully implemented by several councils and endorsed by the Government. It would see the council’s libraries securing their future in a mutual trust or charity which would run the libraries on behalf of the council and at the same time raise additional funds from business and charitable donations. Devon, York and several other councils have successfully rolled this scheme out.

Moving the motion, Cllr Anthony Negus, who also chairs the councils all-party scrutiny task and finish group on libraries, that support the proposal, said:

“Libraries are the civic heart of our communities, offering learning and information opportunities for all, meeting and group space. We want council to grasp this last opportunity to hold all our libraries together, working with our existing staff supported by volunteers as an integrated complete all-city service.”

Cllr Tim Kent, who made the proposal as part of the Mayors consultation said: “the Mayor challenged us to come forward with an alternative and that is what we have done. This is the last chance for many of Bristol’s libraries, including my own in Whitchurch so I hope the Mayor will show the leadership to embrace this plan and secure our library network for the future.”

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