Libraries shake-up to save £250,000

Calderdale’s 24 static and mobile libraries are to be scrutinised as never before in a bid to cut costs.

In 2004, there were 27 library buildings and now there are 22.

The council has already begun detailed talks with staff about “transformation proposals” aimed at saving £250,000 a year, which could mean shorter opening hours and a reduction in the amount of new and replacement books bought for libraries.

Calderdale Council Communities Panel will decide exactly how the review should be carried out on Thursday.

“The council is committed to providing a modern and effective library service, recognising its statutory role and the role libraries have in the community,” according to community director Robin Tuddenham.

“There is potential to enhance the role of libraries as community hubs.”

But many library users are concerned about the future of the service.

Forty per cent of the 1,362 people who commented on the council’s spending plans said the authority should close libraries to save money.

The scrutiny panel is expected to systematically assess the use of each library, its cost and value for money, to look in detail at user numbers, the cost of issuing books and repair costs.

Mr Tuddenham has also recommended that the review should consider “the potential for using volunteers to enhance the service.”

Last summer 3,000 users were consulted about opening hours.

While two-third of library users in Calderdale visit them to borrow books, there are many other services available.

l What changes do you think should be made to Calderdale’s libraries? Email yoursay@ halifaxcourier.co.uk