Council launch library strategy and cite £2.1 million cuts as 'successful outcome'

The way libraries operate in Doncaster will need to change in order to cope with future pressure, council bosses have said.

Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 5:46 pm
Doncaster Central Library

Bosses have drawn up a strategy setting out what they want to achieve by 2021 which includes the build and successful administration of a new central library.

Council bosses said the service will need to adapt in order to meet the needs and demands of a changing population, 'fast pace of technological change' and the 'ongoing financial environment'.

In a report published by council library boss Nick Stopforth, and seen by cabinet members on Doncaster Council, it sets out the authority's 'successful outcomes' which include handing over 20 libraries to volunteer groups and cutting £2.1 million from the budget since 2011.

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Other plus points they highlight include re-opening Denaby Community Library in 2016 and continuing investment in building repairs.

The new central library, based on Chequer Road, is hoped to be completed by the Spring of 2020 at a cost of around £14 million.

The report states a 'professional service' will run the service alongside volunteers. Options include an in-house provider, an arms-length organisation, a Trust, Co-Operative, mutual partnership or a charity.

Currently, 21 out of 25 of Doncaster libraries are run by volunteers and the whole portfolio comprises of 89 staff posts and 470 helpers.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones, said: "It's a great step forward - it's actually bringing together all our strategies required for public libraries.

"It's actually ensuring that we value all the work that's input by all the volunteers at our libraries out there and more importantly, we're going to develop something with the new build which could along that will actually enhance the learning environment for people as well as the museum and everything else coming together.

"I welcome this, this is the right step forward so we can enhance our borough and our economy by putting us there on offer for inward investment to continue."