Posted on Thursday 9th January 2020
Staffordshire's libraries are visited around 2.7 million times a year.
Staffordshire’s transformed library service is all set to continue thriving with investment committed until 2025.
The proposal follows the service’s evolution in recent years, while maintaining 43 libraries across the county.
There are now 27 Community Managed Libraries in Staffordshire, while the 16 busier ones are still run directly by the county council.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Communities, said:
Our libraries are visited around 2.7 million times a year and, as well as the expertise of our professional staff, are supported by more than 1,100 volunteers.
At the same time our Community Managed Libraries have become hubs for their areas, home to a variety of services helping people in many different ways.
Our underlying support enables the community managed libraries to flourish and I want to maintain their positive role within our communities by planning for their long term future.”
Recent successes include:
- the National Careers Service providing one-to-one support at Silverdale and Talke libraries for people wanting to find work, access training schemes, or change careers;
- after an average attendance of 24 people at Perton library, the Bereavement Information Hub expanding its group sessions to Wombourne;
- a mental health support scheme for young people at Burton, which is now being expanded to eight other libraries;
- Kinver library becoming the first ‘Refill station’ within its community, where people can refill reusable water bottles rather than buy single use plastic ones;
- More than 400,000 attendances at learning and wellbeing activities, including ‘school readiness’ for mothers and toddlers, ‘knit and natter’ and dementia awareness sessions.
A report on the service’s successes and development between now and 2025 will be considered by both the County Council’s cabinet and the Prosperous Staffordshire scrutiny committee in coming weeks.
It says there no plans to create more Community Managed Libraries, but support will continue for the existing 27, whose five year leases begin to come up for renewal next year.
Staffordshire County Council is proposing to continue its professional support for community libraries, as well as underwriting agreed running costs and providing access to IT support and book stocks.
Other plans include asking community libraries to reclaim 80 per cent business rate relief if they are eligible to do so and the scheduled introduction of a self-service pilot outside core hours at Stafford library.