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County council pledges to keep Lichfield and Burntwood libraries open

Libraries in Lichfield and Burntwood have been safeguarded after fears they could be closed as part of cost-cutting measures.

Lichfield Library. Pic: Herbaltablet

Lichfield Library. Pic: Herbaltablet

Staffordshire County Council made the pledge not to axe any of the county’s 43 library sites.

However, Cllr Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, insisted ways to modernise the services offered must be looked at.

He explained:

“Other councils may be talking about library closures, but we are not in Staffordshire. We have 43 libraries in the county and we are aiming to maintain them all.

“Instead we are concentrating on modernising services, making libraries into better hubs for community services and making hours more flexible. We will introduce greater use of wi-fi to make computer use in libraries more convenient for people on-the-move. It will also allow county council staff and other workers to use libraries as occasional workplaces when appropriate.

“We have introducing the latest generation of hi-tech Radio Frequency Identification systems to all major libraries. These allow people to check-out items conveniently, will save £800,000 of tax-payer’s money, and free up staff so they can spend more time with library users.”

The future of the libraries will inevitably mean other areas will suffer as the authority looks to balance the books on the back of the Government’s widespread cuts.

However, Cllr Adams believes the axe should not fall on public-facing operations. He addedL

“Like all councils we need to make savings in the way we deliver services. We are exploring other opportunities for doing that, but savings will concentrate on ‘back office’ functions – the side that the public do not see. It is our guarantee that libraries will offer the best value-for-money for Staffordshire taxpayers.

“By innovating we can safeguard the libraries themselves which are so valued in Staffordshire’s communities.”

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

3 Comments

  1. steph

    13th December, 2010 at 11:05 am

    This is really good news. People really underestimate the value libraries bring to the community, where not everyone can access the internet at home (or even know how to use google to find information), or afford to ‘buy books cheap off amazon’. ¦ Check out Voices for the Library and share your stories and experiences of the value of public libraries.

    ¦ http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/

  2. johnthemon

    13th December, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I must agree libraries are a good thing, but the mobile libraries not too sure, are these not outdated in this day and age? With the free bus pass and internet so readily available.

  3. Dr Adrian Steele

    13th December, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Wifi as a fresh offering to widen community appeal? Sounds like its a strategy that was best suited to 2003. Or earlier.

    And come on – how is RFID in books going to save Staffordshire £800k a year – please explain! By my calculations that say loosing 40 librarians at £20k/a – how are you saving this amount of money?