Tonight (Wednesday 15 October) is the final public meeting to take place regarding the future of 11 community libraries in Liverpool.
Four meetings have already taken place, each one looking at a selection of affected libraries. Tonight’s will take place at:
6pm to 8pm Kensington Neighbourhood Health Centre, 157 Edge Lane, Kensington, L7 2PF – this will be to discuss Kensington and Breck Road libraries.
In addition to the identified libraries, there will also be opportunities to discuss all venues at every meeting.
These meetings are an opportunity for the libraries team to talk about why certain libraries are at risk and also for people to ask questions and have their say on the proposals for the service as a whole.
The Library Service needs to reduce its budget overall by £2.5 million as part of the city council’s £156 million of savings needed over the next three years due to cuts in Central Government funding.
A report into the proposed library service identified 11 libraries which could be at risk of closure if alternative and viable ways of delivering services from these buildings cannot be found. The libraries identified are Breck Road, Dovecot, Fazakerley, Kensington, Lee Valley, Old Swan, Sefton Park, Spellow, Walton, Wavertree and West Derby libraries.
A number of discussions are already underway with interested parties about taking over the running of some of the venues or providing library services from alternative locations.
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Due to the scale of the cuts we face there will undoubtedly be some impact on certain venues and we want as many people as possible to be able to have their say on the future of our libraries.
“We understand people will have strong views about libraries, and these meetings give residents the chance to talk about how they feel they will be affected by any service change, and make suggestions for the future of those libraries which are at risk.
“It’s also a forum where we can explain why certain decisions have been made and also importantly meet any individual or group who believe they could take over the running of one of the venues.”
Under the proposals, 95 percent of people will still live within two miles of a library and the Home Library Service and the RNIB Talking Book Service will not be affected.
The city council would continue to run Central Library – which is used by 45 percent of service users – and seven community libraries: Croxteth, Norris Green, Toxteth, Childwall, Allerton, Garston and Parklands.
Liverpool has 19 public libraries in total.
Eleven are potentially at risk because of a number of factors including below average use, high running costs, their proximity to another library and the potential of the service being provided by another organisation or group.