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New chapter for libraries in the Vale

04 March 2015

A timetable for implementing plans to safeguard the future of the library service in the Vale of Glamorgan has been set out following public consultation on the strategy.

 

Under plans to be considered by Cabinet on 09 March opening hours are to change and community groups will be invited to submit expressions of interest in running libraries in Dinas Powys, Rhoose, St Athan, Wenvoe and Sully following Vale residents’ endorsement of the strategy to reshape library services.

 

Those interested in developing a community led library will have until 18 May to come forward and begin working with the Council to develop a viable business plan.

 

The Council then aims to have community libraries in Dinas Powys, Rhoose, St. Athan, Wenvoe and Sully up and running by spring 2016.

 

From 01 June opening hours at Barry, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Penarth libraries could be reduced by a total of 41 hours each week by adjusting the opening and closing times, if cabinet accept the recommendations. The libraries will continue to open for at least one evening a week as those who responded to the consultation requested.

 

Cllr Stuart Egan, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “The consultation made it very clear that people in the Vale are passionate about their library service. Over the past months we have spoken to a number of groups willing to help us maintain the current number of libraries in the county. We believe there are more people out there who would like to contribute and we are asking them to come forward.

 

“The unprecedented financial pressures that we are currently facing mean that we simply cannot continue to provide services in the same way. We do not want to see libraries in the Vale close but the status-quo is not an option. Instead we want to work with all those who have a passion for libraries to develop new ways of running them. By working together we believe that we can maintain the current level of provision in the Vale.”

 

The introduction of community led libraries is one of a number of changes to the service in the Vale needed to help the Council meet its £25million savings target for the next three years. The establishment of community libraries is projected to save the Council £187,000 while the reduction in opening hours at the larger facilities is due to save £256,000.

 

The consultation, to which 1210 responses were received, also addressed the issue of moving St Athan library to another site in the village. Further discussion of this issue will now take place with any party expressing an interest in establishing a community library in the area.  

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