New report aims to help secure the future of Liverpool’s libraries

Study by the independent Library Advisory Task Group makes a  number of recommendations as libraries across the city remain vulnerable to Government cutbacks. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool’s Central Library has seen significant investment but others in the city are vulnerable to cuts

 

Paid events and sponsorship are two of the ideas put forward into an independent report into securing the future of Liverpool’s libraries.

The Library Advisory Task Group – chaired by the former President of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Jan Parry – was set up to look at ways to make libraries in Liverpool sustainable in the face of cuts in funding from central Government.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson announced in March 2017 that he had reversed a planned £1.6m reduction in the libraries budget over the next three years.

But the council remains determined to find new ways of diversifying the service and making it less dependent on public subsidy.

The recommendations include:

  • Introducing paid events and seeking sponsorship to generate income
  • Working with other library services across the city region, eg: introducing a single membership which can be used across all areas
  • Co-locating with other organisations such as health centres to promote health and wellbeing
  • Continuing to put on arts and cultural events
  • Extending opening hours through self-service and generating income from online sales
  • Setting up a volunteer-co-ordinator role to support activities in libraries
  • Extending the Home Library Service for people who can’t get to a library building, perhaps across the city region

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for libraries, Cllr Wendy Simon, said: “Liverpool is hugely proud of its library service, as we were one of the first cities in the country to have one, and they have always been hugely popular.

In the face of huge cuts in our funding from Government we have worked hard to shield libraries as much as possible, while at the same time driving forward improvements.

I very much welcome this report, which makes a number of creative and practical suggestions about ways we can diversify libraries.

To read the full report click here.

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