Sunday January 19 2020



In Full . . .

Library bill ‘too high’

Posted on December 28 2018 at 3:41:14

Campaigners aiming to secure the future of Alvechurch Library, which serves most Village readers, believe the current consultation is trying to achieve the impossible.

The county council, which wants to “change” library services across Worcestershire to cut costs, suggests that Alvechurch should become a “community run” library.

Such libraries are mainly staffed by volunteers, with the “community” – which appears to mean parish councils – paying for the building costs. The county gives Hagley and Broadway as examples of places where this already happens.

But a working group set up by Alvechurch Parish Council points out that the costs of running the building at Alvechurch are far too high for this because they are set by the “private finance initiative” deal signed by the county council when the schools and library were built ten years ago.

According to the consultation documents, the premises budget at Alvechurch is £46,400 per year. This compares with Hagley, where the premises cost is only £200 a year.

The working group believes that an “open library” model, incorporating the use of more technology in the running of the library, may be more appropriate.

The group was to attend an open meeting with Coun Lucy Hodgson, the county cabinet member with responsibility for communities, before reconvening early in the new year to prepare its case before the end of the consultation on February 2.

It also hopes to initiate a campaign among library users to ward off the threat of future closure if the county decides the parish would have to pay such a high cost to keep the building as a library.

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