Community groups come forward to run these ten Derbyshire libraries

Ten of the 20 libraries will have community groups to run them.Ten of the 20 libraries will have community groups to run them.
Ten of the 20 libraries will have community groups to run them.
A council has revealed that only ten out of the 20 libraries it intends to hand to volunteers have community groups fit to take them on.

This comes eight months after Derbyshire County Council finalised its proposals to stop running 20 of its 45 libraries in order to save £1.6 million.

It formally invited community groups to come forward to take on the 20 under-used libraries in March.

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Since then, only half the libraries set to be moved out of county council management have had community groups come forward with robust enough plans to take them on.

This leaves the remaining ten libraries adrift.

The authority said last year that if no groups come forward for their local library, council officers will assess “alternative methods of delivering library services in those communities”.

The areas which have now secured a group or organisation to run the local library are: Borrowash; Duffield; Etwall; Hayfield; Melbourne; Old Whittington; Tideswell; Wingerworth; Whaley Bridge; Woodville.

The areas which have NOT secured a group or organisation to run the local library are: Brimington; Clowne; Creswell; Gamesley; Hadfield; Holmewood; Killamarsh; Pinxton; Somercotes; Whitwell.

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In a record public consultation response to the library proposals last year, 45 per cent of respondents objected to the plans, 31 per cent approved and 24 per cent did not know or neither agreed or disagreed.

County council leader, Councillor Barry Lewis, has consistently said no library will be closed as part of the project.

On this week’s announcement, he said: “It’s very positive news that so many groups have come forward and seized the opportunity to take over the running of a community library, and we’ve already seen real passion and commitment from people to make this work.

“To be honest, we’d really struggle to help any more than ten at a time to make this transition.

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“We’re delighted that so many groups have come forward to work with us so positively. We expect that more will come forward in time.

“We know that these plans have the potential to reinvigorate communities and put libraries back into the heart of their town or village and we look forward to working with these groups in the months and years to come.

“The library service is highly valued by us and our communities and we will do everything we can to secure its future and help it to grow and thrive.”

The authority agreed in its council plan early this year that it aimed to have five libraries transferred over to community management by 2021 and now says it has “exceeded expectations”.

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Open days for groups to take on the last two remaining mobile library vans began in July and the closing date for expressions of interest is midday on Monday, August 12.

If no groups come forward, the resources from these mobile library vans could be formed into book deposits at community centres.

Opening hours and staffing would also be reviewed and reduced as part of the proposals, as well as funding for resources, saving £400,000, £360,000 and £140,000 respectively.

A staff review will take place at a later date with full union support, says the council.