AS Warwickshire's library consultation moves on, and dates approach for public meetings in Alcester and Bidford, members of the public are being offered funding and support to run their own local libraries.
Although the consultation period will be running until Thursday, June 9, and meetings aren't set to take place for Alcester and Bidford until Monday, May 9, the process has already raised concerns from residents in other parts of the county over the future of library services.
Cuts to the library facilities across Warwickshire, have meant that 16 of the county's 34 libraries have been identified as no longer being sustainable in their current forms, including the library in Bidford.
Following feedback at the public meeting that have already taken place, the council has set aside one-off grants, and issued guidance, for communities who might be interested in running their own local library as part of the library and information service.
Councillor Colin Hayfield, portfolio holder for customers, workforce and partnerships, said: “We are in the early stages of consultation but we have already had strong interest from a number of communities who are interested in setting up their own community libraries.
“We recognise that local people may require assistance with start up costs and that is why we are setting aside a one-off capital fund of £100,000 to support communities to set up their own library.
“We are also making the process easier by offering staff support to help local people to submit their business case and offer advice on a range of operational issues to help build a sustainable model for the future.”
Currently the community in Bidford hasn't raised the idea of taking over its own library services, but the strength of community feeling was apparent during the consultation over the future of the village's fire station in 2009, when concerned residents produced their own alternative plan for managing the service to keep the station open.
Advice on submitting a business plan for a community run library is available at www.warwickshire.gov.uk.