Is Essex CC closing libraries to save money or not? Lib Dems question cabinet member

December 22, 2018 3:02 PM
Originally published by Essex Liberal Democrats

Judith Bunting reading with Finn Gardner (John Boyd)

Lib Dem Councillor Stephen Robinson (Chelmsford North) has asked the Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate about ECC's Library consultation.

It has been said that the Libraries review isn't about saving money, so Stephen asked whether a saving is assumed in next year's budget or not, and If the projected £2 million saving could be identified in other ways, will the closures still be pursued?

Stephen also asked what suggestions have been made by Library staff that could contribute to the required savings or increase income.'

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure

'The draft library services strategy is about making the service relevant to the way people live now and fit for the future. It is responding to the dramatic slump in use of libraries over the last 10 years, as we've found new ways online to inform and entertain ourselves.

It is irresponsible to spend taxpayers' money on keeping poorly used buildings open when we could spend it on improving the library services that people do use, whilst still maintaining a network of well-located libraries throughout Essex.

Next year's budget has not been set and no saving is assumed, as the strategy will not be adopted until summer 2019. Future provision of library services will be based on evidence of need.

The Future Library Service Strategy Consultation is not about delivering savings - it is about creating a more relevant and convenient service. A number of ideas have already been developed and implemented, including library space hire, a new creator space at Basildon library and hosting paid-for events.'

Petition against library closures

You can sign the petition here.