Community News

Library campaigners invited to take part in workshops


Picture Julie Flanagan

By Community Reporter Ian Watt

Bristol City Council is to hold workshops with campaigners and library staff to look at alternative ways of managing the service.

The council decided last February to save £1.4m from the Library Service budget and was looking to close 17 of the city’s 27 libraries.

The public ‘Your Neighbourhoods’ consultation last summer saw 3,473 responses about libraries across the city – with most people not wanting to see any of them close.

Following public outcry, a number of campaign groups have sprung up across Bristol to save local libraries.

In November libraries were given a stay of execution – following Government funding for a review. The work is expected to finish in April 2018.

Bristol City Council is continuing to look at options for wider library service provision across the city such as community-run libraries, libraries run by volunteers or shared services with city partners.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries said: “… We are currently exploring all possible options including how we manage a ‘core’ library service alongside other community-based library services.

“We look forward to working with campaigners, staff and elected members as part of that process to help us form proposals.”

Filwood Library which is one of the area’s libraries under threat had around 900 active members recently over a nine- month period, well over 13,000 visits and is open 22 hours a week.

Samantha Weaver  is from the Reader, a nationwide organisation that has recently set up a reading group in Filwood Library.
She says: “They provide venue space, access to a fridge, tea and coffee, publicising – so if it closed we wouldn’t have a place to hold the group…”

Filwood Library is open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm.