Following a 12 week consultation period earlier this year with staff, friends’ groups and some of the borough’s 450 volunteers, Kirklees Council announced in August that it will undergo a massive reorganisation of the service
Libraries in Kirklees have suffered under crippling financial cutbacks that have already seen budgets slashed by 43% . They are expected to fall even further from £5.7m to £2.2 m by 2020. Kirkheaton Library is in a very vulnerable position as it is the smallest library in Kirklees.
The council strongly acknowledged that libraries are not just about books. They recognise the importance of local identity, how needs differ in different communities and how services delivered in libraries reflect this.
They are proposing to redesign the library service using the following principles:
* Libraries must be situated in the right building in the right place, to meet community needs and maximise the impact on early intervention and prevention
* Libraries should be situated where possible on one floor to ensure an efficient and cost-effective delivery model
* A local plan should be developed for each area to reflect the differing needs of each community
This would mean local-level reviews of the locations and suitability of the accommodation that houses each library. It was noted in the report that although Kirkheaton library has the lowest visitor numbers it has 9.64% active members whilst only one other Kirklees library has more than 5%.
Cllr Graham Turner Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries said:
The biggest thing we have learnt from this process is how important libraries are to local communities, and how what they need from them can vary enormously. We know that libraries are more than books and buildings, they are also friends, technology, learning and community and it is with that in mind that we will move forward in developing local plans for each area.
The council also agreed to look into the feasibility of axing book fines
Click here to read the Library Consultation report