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Stark message from Isle of Wight Council over libraries

Monday, October 26, 2015 - 9:33

LIBRARY services will be cut unless volunteers step up — that is the stark message from the Isle of Wight Council.
The authority hopes to run three of its six libraries, Cowes, Freshwater and Ventnor, in partnership with town and parish councils, sharing the responsibility for staffing, costs and buildings maintenance.
Should they fail to take on the mantle, however, further cuts could be on the cards.
According to a report due to go before the Isle of Wight Council executive tomorrow (Tuesday): "If negotiations with the town and parish councils fail to deliver a partnership-based service by April, 2016, this could result in a considerable reduction of library services in the town or village affected as the council needs to consider alternative forms of delivery and adjust opening hours."
The council hopes to slash £280,000 from its annual library budget, and is on course to save £182,866 per year following measures, including relocating its library headquarters to *Lord Louis from Somerton and implementing further staff cuts.
Partnership working at Cowes, Freshwater and Ventnor would generate further savings but, according to the report, 'significant’ concerns have been raised there would be too few volunteers to run services.
Although Freshwater and Ventnor councils have expressed an interest in partnership working — although Ventnor has argued against a reduction in staff — Cowes Town Council has asked the town’s library remains unchanged.
It is further proposed the mobile library service is reduced, by removing stops that attract few visitors, and an existing Newport-based partnership with Age UK Isle of Wight extended to help run the service Island-wide. Cutting a driver post would save £23,847.

Reporter: [email protected]

 


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