As you know we have been working very hard over the last couple of months to secure a future for all 19 libraries in Liverpool.
I can confirm today that none of our libraries will close.
There is much to be proud about our library service – whether it is the increasingly popular e-book service or the award-winning Central Library – and after months of negotiations we have been able to enhance our proposed core statutory Library Service with alternative library services delivered by community groups and local organisations.
The changes to the library service are against a backdrop of severe financial challenges imposed on the city, because our funding from Central Government has been cut by 58% which is affecting every service in the city.
This includes the £10m libraries budget, but also other services that support the most vulnerable in our city like mental health services and the elderly, meaning that those who rely on us the most are affected the most.
The on-going consultation about the future of the library service with local people, organisations and community groups has shown how many people share our passion for our libraries. It has also clearly shown that they are willing to get involved to help keep them running and I would like to thank them and commend them for that.
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.
At this stage, no agreements have been confirmed with any organisation, but we will be making more detailed announcements very soon, but I can confirm that the libraries will remain open.
A report will be brought to cabinet identifying all proposals received to date and seeking cabinet approval for our plan to keep all 19 libraries open.
To see Mayor Anderson talk about the libraries, please click here