THE future of Wythall Library looks to have been secured, after Worcestershire County Council's cabinet agreed plans which build on its successful programme of partnership working with community groups.
To meet the financial challenge the libraries and learning service has been progressing a re-modelling programme that has been worked on since 2011. To date more than £2million of taxpayers' money has been saved without the need for library closures or reductions in service quality.
At a meeting at County Hall on Thursday, July 17, proposals were approved to progress with plans ensuring the future of libraries in Wythall, Bewdley, Broadway, Hagley and Upton.
These proposals build on new delivery models which have been successful at other libraries across Worcestershire, working with and supporting the local community and newly established community groups, town and parish councils and volunteers, to manage and run the buildings and to support services.
Despite the challenges faced over the last couple of years, Worcestershire's libraries and learning service has seen an increase in usage with more books being issued than ever before. A new online free e-books and e-magazines service is now also available to users via worcestershire.gov.uk/libraries.
The latest national cost-per-visit figure of £1.93 for Worcestershire is lowest of any county council and considerably less than the national average of £3.36.
Cabinet's decision means that in Wythall, a charitable incorporated organisation - Wythall Together - will take on responsibility for the premises management and internal maintenance and repair. The library will continue to be run by the county council.
The longer term aspiration is for the library to relocate and become part of Woodrush High School's plans to create a community hub within the new build being proposed on the existing school site.
Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: "Today's decision is fantastic news and builds on the successful programme of working with local communities to ensure the future of our libraries.
"The financial challenge the council faces is well documented but by working innovatively and supporting our partners, groups and volunteers we've been able to ensure all libraries, which continue to be used better than ever, have remained open.
"This is a real example of our Act Local work and I'd like to thank everyone involved. Work will continue to offer our library users a quality service that offers best value for our residents."
Further information on Worcestershire's libraries is available at worcestershire.gov.uk/libraries.