Gateshead Council has agreed to implement a review of the library service following a major public consultation exercise.
Libraries at Felling, Rowlands Gill and Whickham are being offered to local people to be run as community-run libraries after councillors agreed to reduce the council run library network from 11 to eight libraries following extensive consultation with the public.
The Council is also planning to bring to an end the operation of the existing Mobile library service and replace it with a new smaller library vehicle. This will allow the Mobile library to enhance the way that it delivers creative library activities to communities and schools across Gateshead.
Leader of Gateshead Council, Martin Gannon said “We know through our public consultation just how much people value their local library service. We have a well-used and well regarded library service in Gateshead and there are good reasons to keep all of our libraries, although we do recognise the role of a local library is changing. However, when faced with the savage ongoing cuts in government funding we’ve had to take a very difficult decision to reduce the council operated network further.”
“We want to work with our communities to help keep local libraries. To do this we need to expand our volunteer managed libraries, which already operate from five locations across Gateshead, to now include Felling, Rowlands Gill and Whickham. We’ll shortly be asking for volunteers to help run these libraries and will be hosting public meetings so residents can find out how they can be involved.”
The Council has considered a range of factors to reshape the service; social need, library usage, access and the reach of local libraries. The network the Council has decided to prioritise maximises the number of residents who live in the catchment area of a local library.
Gateshead has had a renowned and creative library service for many years and the Council will continue to invest £2.4m in libraries across the borough. The service will still deliver a wide range of creative activities that not only encourage reading for all ages but that also allow people to engage with a range of new technologies.
Public meetings have been arranged to discuss the role of volunteers and how the Council supports the development of the volunteer operated libraries.
Meetings will take place at:
Rowlands Gill Library, Monday 6 March, 6 - 7.30pm
Felling Library, Tuesday 7 March, 11.30am - 1pm
Whickham Library, Wednesday 8 March, 6 - 7.30pm
Places at each meeting may be limited by the size of the venues, so booking is recommended. To register, email Janice Holmes email@example.com or call 0191 433 8405.