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Rural communities show interest in running local libraries

Published: 14/01/2016

Councillors will consider the responses from three communities about the future of three rural libraries when they meet on Tuesday 19 January. Local groups in Hope and Mynydd Isa are interested in running the part time libraries in their villages under the Councils current approach to working in partnership with communities to transfer some of its community assets, the Councils Cabinet will be told. Councils have the option to transfer buildings and land to community or charitable groups for them to sustain buildings and activities that are at risk. Any new arrangements for the two libraries could be in place by 1 April, subject to the Cabinets approval. In Saltney, consideration will be given to a request from local County Councillors who are seeking an extension to the time frame to further explore potential local solutions. A Medium Term Libraries Plan, outlining a sustainable libraries infrastructure for the future was agreed by the Councils Cabinet last March. This included designated hub libraries in Mold, Holywell, Connahs Quay, Deeside Leisure Centre, Buckley and Flint. The feasibility of community asset transfers has been under consideration for rural libraries. The re-location of libraries in Queensferry, Mancot and Hawarden to a new library in Deeside Leisure Centre will be completed by 1 March. Community asset transfers for libraries in Hope, Mynydd Isa and Saltney could help contribute towards a proposed £0.544m of savings for the Council in 2016/17 through Community Asset Transfer. Councillor Chris Bithell, Cabinet member for Education said: Im pleased that local groups have shown such a keen interest in developing alternative approaches to sustaining library activities. The Council will work with local communities for a smooth transition should the proposals be approved. Because of current financial pressures we have had no option but to look at different ways of sustaining important local assets and we welcome the support of local communities at this time. Earlier this week the Councils Organisational Change Overview and Scrutiny Committee made a draft resolution that: 1. The assessment of the feasibility of community asset transfers for the libraries in Hope, Mynydd Isa and Saltney, in particular the formal consultation with communities be received, subject to: a) the holding of a meeting with interested parties in Saltney within the next four weeks; b) the provision of the information requested on the operation of the Library Management System; how it currently relates to book stock and acquisitions and how it could be developed for the future; c) the increase in the lent book stock to community operated libraries being set at 100 books 2. That the committees views on the feasibility of Community Asset Transfers and alternative acceptable solutions for the three libraries is noted and referenced by the officers in further developing solutions.