Public urged to join in consultation on future of libraries

March 28 2016

PEOPLE concerned about the future of Chipping Sodbury library are being urged to have their say during a consultation exercise now running.



PEOPLE concerned about the future of Chipping Sodbury library are being urged to have their say during a consultation exercise now running.
South Gloucestershire Council needs to save £650,000 from its library service budget, with funding for the Chipping Sodbury building possibly stopping, the mobile library service ending and opening hours cut at other libraries.
A petition is running to save the library in High Street, Chipping Sodbury, but the council wants as many people as possible to give their views via its consultation process.
However, it said no changes were planned before October 2017 and it anticipated that through discussions with communities during the next year, alternative options could be negotiated to help avoid many cuts in the service. That could involve greater community involvement in the operating of libraries.
The consultation is one of a trio of public have-a-say schemes running until May 13 as the council tries to make its significant savings.
When it set its 2016-17 budget in February, it included savings of an extra £22 million from annual savings by 2019-20.
As well as libraries, it is also looking at its office accommodation, including its Badminton Road offices in Yate, and is considering introducing community hubs from where multiple services can be provided. Priority areas for that kind of set-up would include Yate.
Council leader Matthew Riddle, said: “The council has no choice but to reduce spending but we do have a choice in how we do it. Our priority remains to protect frontline services, particularly for the most vulnerable, wherever we can.”
As part of the consultations, drop-in events have been planned, including two in Yate library on Saturday, April 2, from 9.30am-1pm and on Monday, April 11, from 2pm-7pm, the second to also cover information on Chipping Sodbury library and the mobile library.
There will also be an office accommodation drop-in event in the Badminton Road council offices on Tuesday, April 12, from 4pm-7pm.
Full details on the consultations are available online at www.southglos.gov.uk/consultation.
A second round of consultation will take place in the autumn on updated plans. Sodbury town councillor Juan Nuevo is fighting to save Chipping Sodbury library. He said: “Libraries are the backbone of our education system. For many children, the library represents their only access to books, reading and the internet outside of their home. If we let the libraries go, we will never get them back.
“I’m calling on everybody to take action to ensure library services are sustained and developed into the 21st century.”
See Letters, page 13’