Councillors welcome progress in securing the future of Cornwall’s libraries

Members at this week’s meeting of the Council’s Cabinet have welcomed the progress which is being made to protect library services across Cornwall by devolving libraries and one stop shops to local councils and community organisations.

Outlining the works which are taking place to transfer individual libraries and one stop shop sites, Geoff Brown, the Cabinet Member for Communities, said the Council’s actions meant that none of Cornwall’s 31 libraries had closed.

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“We have been forced to change the way libraries and one stop services are provided in Cornwall because of the huge cuts in our funding from the Government” he said.  “Our aim throughout this process has been to work with partners and local communities to protect these much loved services by delivering them in a different way.

“I am, therefore, delighted to confirm that to date we are on target to achieve the £2m savings we need to without closing any of our current 31 libraries and, in fact, we have recently opened a new micro library at St Columb Minor through the ‘pub is hub’ scheme.   This means we are actually increasing library provision in Cornwall, not reducing it.”

Members at this week’s meeting were told that staff from Falmouth Library and Information Service had now formally transferred to the Town Council, with the move to transfer the town’s former one stop shop to Callington Town Council in its final stages.  This will see the Town Council hosting the new Information Service and, it is hoped, will result in an increase in opening hours.  Work is also continuing on the relocation of Bodmin Library to Chy Trevail, which is due to take place in Spring 2017.

The devolution of Penryn Library to the Town Council is also in the final stages of handover, with detailed discussions taking place in Camborne, Liskeard, Newquay, St Austell, St Ives, Torpoint and Truro.

Alternative options are also being considered for the sites for which there has been no interest in taking on a devolved library service.

“We are grateful to our town and parish council partners for working with us, particularly those working in our priority sites, as we work through the more detailed elements of the transfers” said Geoff Brown.

“This is a time of great change for everyone and I would also like to thank our library and one stop shop staff for their hard work and professionalism; and the devolution project team for their combined efforts and work to progress this very complicated devolution programme.”

Members at this week’s meeting also supported the proposed principles of the partnership arrangement for Truro Library with Truro City Council and gave delegated authority for carrying out negotiations with the City Council and the Trustees of the Technical School to the Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods and Communities Portfolio Holder,

A further report on the programme will be brought back to the Communities Policy Advisory Committee before the end of March 2017.

Story posted: 10 November 2016