Communities in bids to save libraries

BUSINESS cases have been put forward for local communities to run all 16 of the libraries set to close under Warwickshire County Council’s drive to cut costs.

Some 100 library staff were set to lose their jobs in the shake-up.

Among the local libraries which were considered no longer sustainable were Harbury, Kineton, Henley-in-Arden, Bidford-on-Avon, Baddesley, Dunchurch and Studley.

Councillor Colin Hayfield, who is responsible for customers, access issues and physical assets in the county, said: “It’s extremely encouraging to have heard from all 16 communities where libraries were seen as no longer viable.”

Coun Hayfield said: “We have tried to work hard with communities to give them every opportunity possible to put forward the strongest business case.

”This included a couple of special events including one where people heard from communities elsewhere in the country already running their own libraries.”

He added: “It might well be that the strongest cases result in communities taking on libraries very soon, but we expect all the changes to have taken place by the end of March next year.”

The largest number of borrowers (41 per cent) at Harbury library in High Street were readers in the 16-64 age range. Some 28 per were 65 plus.

Other libraries which communities want to save are mainly in the north of the county.