Four public consultation meetings are to be held on the future of Liverpool’s libraries, as the service seeks to find savings of £2.5 million.
The Libraries service needs to reduce its £10 million budget by 25 per cent, as part of £156 million of savings needed over the next three years due to cuts in Central Government funding.
The scale of the challenge means there could be a significant reduction in the 19 libraries that are currently operated across Liverpool.
The city council is committed to ensuring that a comprehensive library service is retained which is close to good transport routes and fully accessible.
Decisions will also take into account local needs as well as exploring opportunities to share building costs with other services and organisations.
The consultation meetings are being held at venues which are large enough to host public meetings and have good transport links and parking. The venues, times and dates are:
Thursday 24 April at Central Library on William Brown Street from 6 – 8pm
Tuesday 29 April at Bridge Chapel Centre, Heath Road in Garston from 6 – 8pm
Wednesday 7 May at Central Library on William Brown Street from 6 – 8pm
Wednesday 21 May at Ellergreen Community Centre in Norris Green, Liverpool 11 from 6 – 8pm
Director of Community Services, Ron Odunaiya, said: “Due to the sheer scale of the £156 million savings that we need to find across the council over the next three years, we have to make some extremely tough decisions about all council services including the library service.
“In future it is doubtful that we will be able to have a library in every community, and people may well have to travel further to access the service.
“That is why we are really keen to hear what people think, and their ideas about how we can mitigate the impact, or do things in a different way to enable people to continue to have access to books, public information and computers.”
Residents are also being asked to complete a consultation questionnaire which will give them the opportunity to have their say.
The consultation questionnaire is aimed at establishing which libraries are most frequently used, what times of the week/day are popular and how far people travel to visit a library.
It also asks people’s views on different ways of running the service, and whether they would be willing to see community organisations and local housing groups take over buildings, or introduce local book collection facilities.
The consultation runs until Friday 16 May and the consultation questionnaire is available at www.liverpool.gov.uk/librariesconsultation, by phoning 0151 233 3069 and from libraries, One Stop Shops and Neighbourhood Health Centres.
The results of the consultation questionnaire will be analysed by an independent local company.
Liverpool’s 19 libraries are at: Central on William Brown Street; Allerton; Breck Road; Childwall; Croxteth; Dovecot; Fazakerley; Garston; Kensington; Lee Valley; Norris Green; Old Swan; Parklands; Sefton Park; Spellow; Toxteth; Walton; Wavertree and West Derby.