Council to modernise Bristol’s saved library service

Bristol City Council has just approved the development of a library strategy to help modernise the service  – which was saved from cuts in the summer.

In July Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and his Cabinet took the decision to keep all 27 libraries across the city  – and scrap the £1.4 million budget saving target.

The planned cuts would have seen 17 libraries close  – but following a public consultation, fierce opposition and petitions with over 12,000 signatures – the libraries were offered a stay of execution.

Development of the strategy will run alongside community engagement which will look in detail at local ideas and solutions for each library.

The decision not to close any libraries has made sure the full service remains in place while this process takes place.

Mr Rees said: “We understand how much people care about their libraries, and we took that in to consideration when we decided not to close any branches earlier this summer.

“We understand that work needs to be done to modernise the library service, and if cabinet agrees to develop a strategy we can begin to plan for the future.

“Libraries are vital to local communities, and we want to use this opportunity to explore how we can work with local communities to make these spaces more appealing and tailor them to fit the needs of the local area…”

He said the council would be looking for people to come forward “with workable ideas for their local library”.

“We are open to discussing new ideas and are keen not to stand in people’s way.”

It is likely work on the strategy will now begin in October with the aim to publish the report in spring next year.

The council will be releasing information on how to get involved in the community engagement process in the next few weeks.