Shropshire Star

Future of Shropshire's main libraries secured

The future of Shropshire's main libraries has been secured for the next five years.

Last updated

Shropshire Council's cabinet formally approved the authority's Library Services Strategy for 2018 to 2023 at a meeting in Shirehall yesterday.

It means 'tier one' libraries at Shrewsbury, including at the Lantern, Oswestry, Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Ludlow, and Bridgnorth are safe.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said the strategy took weeks to put together following a public consultation at the end of last year.

She said 700 people responded to the consultation which showed just how important libraries are to the public.

"The best thing about all this is the amount of responses we have had," she said. "We took six to eight weeks to complete the strategy because we wanted make sure we have taken it all on board. We have listened to the public."

She said the council has also taken the decision to extend the amount of time allowed for smaller libraries to become self-funding. She said the current plans were unachievable for libraries.

‘Tier two’ libraries at Cleobury Mortimer, Church Stretton, Bishop’s Castle, Ellesmere, Pontesbury, Albrighton, and Wem will now have five years to become cost neutral, and ‘tier three’ libraries at Broseley, Shifnal, Highley, Craven Arms, Much Wenlock, Gobowen, and Bayston Hill, will have to be self-funding within the next three years.

In July and October 2017, the council sought a response to a proposal to reduce the number of library stops from 354 to 277.

Councillor Picton added: "There will also be changes to the mobile library services. We have increased it from 277 stops to 281, and have re-instated stops in Clive and Brompton. The mobile service did create an awful lot of comment and we needed to recognise that."