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Liverpool's under threat libraries win reprieve

Dovecot library in Liverpool. Credit: ITV News.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has said none of the city's libraries will close.

It follows a public consultation scheme which had seen up to 11 libraries under treat as the council moved to cut costs.

Mr Anderson said there "may have to be changes" to the way the libraries are run, but added that there had been interest from community and voluntary groups to help maintain the service.

So far, viable proposals have been received for seven of the eleven libraries and we are continuing to plan the future of the remainder.

There may have to be changes to the way these libraries are run, with changed opening hours for example, but the proposals are an exciting mixture of ideas with local community organisations and voluntary groups joining up to form new partnerships with Liverpool City Council.

– Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool

A report will be presented to the city's cabinet identifying the proposals received to date and seeking approval to keep all 19 libraries open.

Dates set for Liverpool library consultation meetings

Credit: PA

Dates have been set for all of the public meetings regarding the future of 11 community libraries in Liverpool.

Four sessions will take place, each one looking at a selection of affected libraries:

  • Sefton Park and Wavertree libraries - Monday 6 October - 6pm to 8pm at The Conference Centre at LACE, Croxteth Drive, Sefton Park, L17 1AA.
  • Spellow, Walton and Fazakerley libraries - Wednesday 8 October, 6pm to 8pm, Alsop High School, Queen’s Drive, Walton, L4 6SH.
  • Old Swan, Dovecot and West Derby libraries - Monday 13 October, 6pm to 8pm Broadgreen International School, Queen’s Drive, L13 5UQ.
  • Kensington and Breck Road libraries - Wednesday 15 October, 6pm to 8pm Kensington Neighbourhood Health Centre, 157 Edge Lane, Kensington, L7 2PF.

The Library Service needs to reduce its budget by £2.5 million as part of the city council’s £156 million of savings needed over the next three years.

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Future of Liverpool's libraries discussed

Liverpool libraries await fate Credit: PA

Liverpool residents will get to have their say on the future of 11 community libraries at risk of closing in the city. The budget is losing £2.5m as the council tries to save £156m over the next three years

The public meeting will take place from 6pm to 8pm at the Lee Valley Millennium Centre, Childwall Valley Road.

A number of discussions are already underway with interested parties about taking over the running of some of the venues which are Breck Road, Dovecot, Fazakerley, Kensington, Lee Valley, Old Swan, Sefton Park, Spellow, Walton, Wavertree and West Derby libraries.

The council say under the proposals, 95% of people will still live within two miles of a library and the Home Library Service and the RNIB Talking Book Service will not be affected.

The city council would continue to run Central Library - which is used by 45 percent of service users - and seven community libraries: Croxteth, Norris Green, Toxteth, Childwall, Allerton, Garston and Parklands

Liverpool has 19 public libraries in total. Those at risk of closure include:

  • Breck Road Library
  • Dovecot Library
  • Fazakerley Library
  • Kensington Library
  • Lee Valley Library
  • Old Swan Library
  • Sefton Park Library
  • Spellow Library
  • Walton Library
  • Wavertree Library
  • West Derby Library

They are potentially at risk because of a number of factors including below average use, high running costs, their proximity to another library and the potential of the service being provided by another organisation or group.

"The scale of the cuts facing us is extremely challenging and we want to make sure we've explored all the options available.

"We understand that libraries are hugely valued by the local community, and these meetings are a vital way in which members of the public can express their views and also find out from the team involved why certain proposals have been made.

"I hope as many people as possible are able to attend either Thursday's, or one of the later meetings so that we can work together as much as possible to shape the future of Liverpool's library service."

– Councillor Wendy Simon

Further meetings will take place in the forthcoming weeks and will be announced as the soon as the dates and venues are confirmed.

Talks begin over the future of Liverpool's libraries

The Reading Rooms at Liverpool's Central Library, which is not affected by the consultation. Credit: PA

Talks have begun over the future of Liverpool libraries.

The four week consultation takes place as Liverpool Council's Libraries Service seeks to save £2.5 million from its budget.

The authority says the funding shortage is due to a 58 percent Central Government funding cut.

Discussions are underway over the future of Breck Road, Dovecot, Fazakerley, Kensington, Lee Valley, Old Swan, Sefton Park, Spellow, Walton, Wavertree and West Derby libraries.

Under the proposals, the council said 95 per cent of people will still live within two miles of a library and the Home Library Service and the RNIB Talking Book Service will not be affected.

The council would continue to run Central Library - which is used by 45 percent of service users - and seven community libraries: Croxteth, Norris Green, Toxteth, Childwall, Allerton, Garston and Parklands

The libraries which are at risk are those which generally have below average use, high running costs or are in close proximity to another library, the council said.

“We fully appreciate and understand that people will want to see as many libraries protected as possible, and we are doing everything we possibly can to come up with innovative ways to keep some of them open.

“The sad fact is that Liverpool City Council used to receive £514 million in funding from Central Government, but by 2017 we will have only £264 million. This means making extremely difficult decisions, and we are trying to make sure we protect services for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and children in care. “We are in discussions with a number of different organisations, and I am hopeful that we will be able to hand some of the buildings over with some form of retained library service.

“It is also an opportunity to take a fresh look at our libraries service, because we have to accept that the way in which people access libraries has changed over the years due to shifts in the city’s population.

"There have also been great advances in technology which is why we are expanding our increasingly popular Read Liverpool e-library service.”

– Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool's Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for libraries.
Dovecot Library. Credit: ITV News

A series of consultation meetings will take place over the next few weeks before a further report is drawn up with a final set of proposals to be considered by the Cabinet later this year.

The council said an initial consultation held earlier this year found:

  • 45 per cent of customers use Central Library, and 40 per cent of those consulted said they would use this library if their local library closed.
  • The most-used libraries are Central Library, Allerton, Childwall, Garston and Norris Green. Together these libraries account for 57 per cent of the total library use across the city
  • 59 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to visit another library if their local one was to close.

Liverpool libraries under threat of closure

Libraries under threat Credit: PA

The future of Liverpool's libraries will be debated later. 11 could face closure due to high running costs or below average use. The Library Service needs to reduce its budget by £1.7m the city council tries to save £156m over the next three years due to cuts in Central Government funding.

A report due to be discussed identifies 11 community libraries that could be at risk of closure if alternative and viable ways of delivering the services from these buildings cannot be found. These libraries are:

  • Breck Road Library
  • Dovecot Library
  • Fazakerley Library
  • Kensington Library
  • Lee Valley Library
  • Old Swan Library
  • Sefton Park Library
  • Spellow Library
  • Walton Library
  • Wavertree Library
  • West Derby Library

If the report is approved, another full consultation exercise will be undertaken which will include a series of public meetings, inviting people to have their say on the proposed service as a whole as well as those venues which have been identified as potentially at risk.

Libraries at risk of closure in Liverpool funding review

Councillors in Liverpool are meeting to discuss the future of the city's library service.

They need to reduce the budget by £1.7 million (25 per cent) as part of the council’s £156 million of savings needed over the next three years due to cuts in Central Government funding.

The Local authority says the scale of the challenge resulted in a two month consultation process which explored remodelling the service and looked at how the city’s 19 public libraries were used by customers.

The report identified 11 community libraries that could be at risk of closure if alternative and viable ways of delivering the services from these buildings cannot be found.

Branches at Risk:-

  • Breck Road Library
  • Dovecot Library
  • Fazakerley Library
  • Kensington Library
  • Lee Valley Library
  • Old Swan Library
  • Sefton Park Library
  • Spellow Library
  • Walton Library
  • Wavertree Library
  • West Derby Library

The council says are potentially at risk because of a number of factors including below average use, high running costs, their proximity to another library and the potential of the service being provided by another organisation or group.

If the report is approved, another full consultation exercise will take place which will include a series of public meetings, inviting people to have their say on the proposed service as a whole as well as those venues which have been identified as potentially at risk.

“The sheer scale of the cuts which face the council mean we have to make some extremely tough decisions.

“We, along with an independent company, have scrutinised all the responses to the consultation looking closely at areas such as what library services the residents use, when they use it and how often.

“At the same time we have to look at the individual venues and consider what their running costs are, can we work with partner organisations to keep costs down, were they located near another library and had any community based organisation shown an interest in taking over the running of the facility.

“It’s important to stress that it isn’t a foregone conclusion that the libraries identified will close – we are carrying out a further four week consultation to make sure all options are considered and that it has been a fully comprehensive review of the service as a whole.”

– Assistant Mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon

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£16 million boost for jobs in Liverpool

Liverpool has seen major regeneration over recent years Credit: PA Images

More than 1,000 jobs are set to be created in Liverpool through a £16 million project to help businesses expand.

Liverpool City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership has successfully bid for almost £8 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

That cash is being matched with an additional £6 million from the private sector and £2 million of public funding.

The New Markets and Growth Business Programme, which runs until October 2015, is aimed at supporting small businesses to grow and access export markets.

The city council will be partnering with specialist business support agencies including the University of Liverpool Management School, the Women’s Organisation and Smaller Earth which helps young entrepreneurs.

They will provide advice and support to assist 1,190 businesses across Liverpool City Region, 714 of them in the city itself.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:

“At a time when public sector employment is reducing, it is absolutely vital that we do more to support businesses to expand and create jobs.

“Growing startup businesses and encouraging entrepreneurs is crucial if we are to make sure there are opportunities for our residents.

“The International Festival for Business taking place later this year is a huge opportunity for Liverpool to market itself to the world, showcasing the city as a great place to invest.

This scheme will help us support our own firms to take advantage of the profile and exposure that the event will create.”

Liverpool City council decide on budget cuts

Tough decisions at Liverpool town hall Credit: ITV Granada

Liverpool city council will decide where the axe will fall as they aim to make almost one hundred and 60 million pounds worth of savings.

The budget has been cut for the next three years, starting with 45 million pounds worth of reductions needed over the next 12 months.

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