Shropshire libraries funding to be slashed by £1.3m

Branch library services across the county are to be transformed as Shropshire Council bids to find £1.3 million cuts in the department that runs them.

Shropshire libraries funding to be slashed by £1.3m

While the council has pledged to keep libraries in towns as council-run facilities, it says it cannot sustain the funding for smaller libraries.

Consultation is under way to look at how the buildings and the book lending service can survive and, as one council chief claimed at a meeting, even improve.

Almost 50 people attended a public meeting in Gobowen to look at how its library could continue despite council funding cuts.

Similar consultation are to be held in towns across the county, from Broseley to Pontesbury and Ellesmere.

Libraries in Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Whitchurch, Market Drayton, Ludlow and Bridgnorth will continue to be run by the council but others could be taken over by community organisations.

Teresa Ecclestone, north Shropshire senior librarian, said Shropshire had 22 branch libraries and four mobile libraries.

But she said the use of the county's library services had changed with more and more people going online to use its research facilities, to manage their book loans and to take out e-books.

Kate Garner, local commissioning manager for Shropshire Council, said: "We are working with communities to re-design yet still support services.

"Services will look different but they will continue and will often be better.

"The libraries can become community hubs which can offer support for better health and well being, to address problems from loneliness to mobility."

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