City of York Councils library service is planning to be the first service in the country to secure its future by developing a mutual organisation, using expert advice and support provided by the Cabinet Office.
The council’s library service successfully bid to the Cabinet Office Mutuals Support Programme for practical support to develop imaginative solutions to future budget pressures. The aim is to build a library service that gives the staff and the community a clearer stake in the service, helps build innovative partnerships and opens up access to new income streams.
Feedback from the recent consultation on library services coupled with the support from the Cabinet Office Mutual Support Programme, will see the council start detailed work on a business and financial plan to ensure the libraries continue to be run by well-trained, paid library staff for the benefit of their communities, via a social enterprise.
Cllr Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: ”Public libraries are vitally important. Their work on literacy, employability, digital inclusion and promoting the joy of reading are key to the community they sit in; providing a welcoming community space for all.
”Continuing to run Yorks library service as it is currently structured is not viable in the long term with ongoing Government funding reductions: we have seen closures happening across the region. York is committed to supporting exemplary and innovative libraries and Explore centres, and we feel a mutual approach is a way of doing this
“This recently-awarded Cabinet Office support will let us support the service in the way residents want and is a great endorsement of the approach we are investigating to protect our library services for our residents.”
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