Time running out to have say on libraries

There is just a week to go for people to respond to a public consultation questionnaire on the future of Liverpool’s libraries, as the service seeks to find savings of £2.5 million.

The Library 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 financial challenge means there could be a significant reduction in the 19 libraries that are currently operated across Liverpool.

A paper and online consultation questionnaire has so far drawn 2,500 responses and closes on Friday 16 May.

People are being urged to have their say by filling it in at http://www.liverpool.gov.uk/librariesconsultation, by phoning 0151 233 3069 or picking up copies from libraries, One Stop Shops and Neighbourhood Health Centres.

The results of the consultation questionnaire will be analysed by an independent local company.

In addition to the consultation questionnaire there have been three public consultation meetings held to date, with another two to come: Wednesday 21 May at Ellergreen Community Centre in Norris Green, Liverpool 11 from 6 – 8pm and Friday 30 May at Liverpool Central Library from 2 – 4pm.

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.

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.”

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.