THE prospect of pubs and shops in Cheshire being used as libraries is a step closer to reality.
Cheshire County Council’s Executive has agreed to adopt a partnership model as the framework for library services in the future.
Talks will now take place with potential partners which will include groups, schools and parish councils and perhaps even pubs and shops.
‘This is an important development in the history of the library service,’ said executive member for community and communications county councillor Nora Dolphin.
‘A great deal of work needs to be done and at the very heart of the process is the need to continue to provide Cheshire residents with a highly valued and high performing library service.’
Each district will continue to have a comprehensive library with proposed ‘one-stop shop’ access points to all services provided by county and district councils.
There would also be neighbourhood libraries which would provide a basic set of library facilities including where possible community space and contact points to a wide range of public services.
Finally partnership libraries would be based in small rural communities which would be run by parish councils, schools ect.
Cllr Dolphin added: ‘These small partner libraries could be provided by schools, parish councils, or even located in pubs or shops.
‘The arrangements in each locality and levels of support provided by the County Council would be based on need and may differ from library to library.’
The county council will support smaller partner libraries in a number of ways.
Those who run them could receive grants for small capital projects, provision of staff and staffing expertise and access to the council’s purchasing mechanism to buy stock at reduced cost.
Negotiations are now to take place with potential partners to implement the delivery framework.
Cheshire’s Library Service boasts a stock of 1,015,287 books and lists a total of 165,534 users.