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Consultation begins over plans to introduce automated service at libraries in Lichfield and Burntwood

A three month consultation over the future operation of libraries in Lichfield and Burntwood has begun.

Burntwood Library

Burntwood Library

Plans have been drawn up to maintain and extend opening hours across Staffordshire by introducing an automated service at certain times of the day.

The review applies to the 20 of the region’s libraries that are still directly managed by Staffordshire County Council. A further 23 are operated by other community organisations on behalf of the council.

Cllr Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: “We have worked hard in recent years to buck the trend of closures happening in so many other places and have succeeded in keeping all Staffordshire’s 43 libraries open and part of our statutory provision.

“This consultation is about looking to the future and examining ideas already being used in other parts of the country to see how we can keep our libraries relevant to people’s changing needs.

“The community-managed libraries are already doing good things in their neighbourhoods, evolving into flexible hubs adding other services local people want.”

People will be asked to comment on possible options for each of the remaining 20 libraries, including:

  • Maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using technology to allow registered users access to the library outside core hours. No library would become completely self-service.
  • Maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using more volunteers.
  • Becoming a community-managed library, where a group takes over the management and day-to-day running, with access to all the council’s library resources, while the authority remains responsible for agreed utility bills and maintenance costs.

 

Cllr Heath said: “Nothing is set in stone, but we want to talk to different communities about different ideas and discuss the possibilities for the way forward.”

The consultation runs until April 1. People can leave their comments online, via email or by filling in a questionnaire at local libraries.

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