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Cornwall's Library Shake-Up

Cornwall's Library Shake-Up

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 4:21pm 4th November 2015.

Council Cabinet make decision on future of Cornwall's library and one stop shop service

Cornwall Council's Cabinet met on Wednesday to consider a report on the future of the library and one stop shop service in Cornwall and recommendations made by the Communities Policy Advisory Committee.

The report summarised the work undertaken so far, following public consultation, on the options for transferring or 'devolving' the operation of individual libraries/one stop shops to a town or parish council or community organisation.

The report confirmed the sites for which interest has been received and explored the opportunities available for local councils and community groups to shape services in their local areas.

Cabinet has approved the three recommendations in the report and the additional Communities Policy Advisory Committee's recommendation:

1.    Option 1 (Model A - Progress the devolution of the local Library and/or One Stop Shop service, as set out in this report, to those organisations that have expressed an interest) be approved as the primary option to implement
2.    Option 4 (One Public Estate Job Centre Plus opportunities) is explored in more detail and progressed where possible (alongside recommendation 1)
3.    Members should be regularly updated on progress and a further detailed report is brought back at an appropriate time relating to any library/one stop shop which it has not been possible to encompass in recommendations 1 or 2 with a view to the potential impact and options regarding service delivery in these areas to ensure the service is delivered within budget by 1 April 2017
4.    Meetings will be held in communities where Libraries and One Stop Shops are currently located in separate buildings.

A spokesperson said: "These meetings should include local Members throughout the catchment area served by the Library and/or One Stop Shop. Whilst Members were very concerned that due to the draconian cuts imposed by Government on local authorities these changes in the library and one stop shop service were necessary, they considered the recommendations to be the best option to safeguard a comprehensive and efficient library/one stop shop service for Cornwall."

Geoff Brown, Cabinet Member for Communities added: "I would like to praise local communities, and town and parish councils for their enthusiasm in coming forward to take on their local service. Local councils and organisations have come forward with some very interesting and exciting ideas and I look forward to seeing them realised. For many towns this presents a golden opportunity to enhance the services offered by their library/one stop shop as local communities are best placed to identify their needs. I would also like to thank our libraries and one stop shop staff for their support and hard work and appreciate that this continues to be a period of uncertainty for them.

"The transfer of these services will be complex but discussions have already commenced to enable a small number of them to be transferred by April 2016 as a pilot scheme with others following in 2016/17. Once a clear picture of those devolved transfers has been established a further report will be brought back to the PAC and Cabinet regarding the service in areas who have not taken up their 'local' option.

"I would encourage any council or community group who are interested in taking over their library and have not already done so, to talk to us, as the door is still open."

Cabinet's decision to approve the recommendations means that proposals can now start to be put in place to allow communities to shape the library and one stop shop services in their local area. There are a few locations where plans still need to be finalised and we will be looking at options for these areas and we remain hopeful that solutions can be found, however we cannot rule out the risk of closure.

Contact details for organisations interested in discussing potentially taking over their local library and/or one stop shop are:
"    by email: libraries@cornwall.gov.uk
"    by phone: 0300 1234 111
"    in writing to: Library and one stop shop review, Truro Library, Union Place, Truro, Cornwall TR1 1EP

The Face to Face: Alternative Service Delivery of Libraries and One Stop Shops report is available here

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