Shropshire Star

D-Day for dozens of Shropshire libraries - Council to vote on futures

Libraries across Shropshire must be taken over by community groups or face closure under plans likely to be approved next week.


Shropshire Council's cabinet will vote on the proposals that are intended to save £1.1 million from the authority's £2.9 million libraries budget.

If approved it will see 12 of the county's smaller libraries offered to community groups.

The libraries, at Albrighton, Bayston Hill, Broseley, Cleobury Mortimer, Church Stretton, Ellesmere, Gobowen, Much Wenlock, Pontesbury, Shawbury, Shifnal, and Wem, could be closed if new management does not come forward.

The council also intends to look at new ways of running its large libraries at Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, and Whitchurch.

The policy is in contrast to Telford & Wrekin, where libraries remain council-owned and a new 25,000-book library has opened as part of the £250 million Southwater development.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for business and culture said: "We fully recognise the value and importance of our libraries, and this is why we are absolutely committed to ensuring they continue to remain at the heart of local communities.

"However, we are in a position that we have address a library funding gap of £1.3 million and we are working with communities across the county to find innovative and sustainable ways of keeping them going."

Michael Green of the Shropshire Libraries Yes Campaign, described the proposals as "philistine-ism". He said: "We believe that the libraries should remain in council hands, not that that makes them any safer but at least it means they are within the control of an accountable group, not something which people have no control over."

The council's cabinet is expected to approve the plan at its meeting on Wednesday.

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