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Bristol council backtracks on decision to close 17 libraries

In the UK, Bristol City Council has backtracked on a decision to close 17 of its 27 libraries, reports the BBC.

Despite the council’s proposal in February last year to cut the library budget by £1.4 million (A$2.5m), the  council now says it has found enough money ‘to keep every single library’ open, and will present its plan in a report next week.

The council’s initial proposed cuts attracted controversy. A public consultation process, where residents were asked to choose between three lists of libraries they wanted to keep and three they wouldn’t mind seeing close, was met with ‘fierce opposition from campaign groups who accused the council of pitting communities against each other’, according to the Bristol Post. Subsequently, three public petitions with more than 12,000 signatures were presented to council.

The council’s final decision regarding its library budget had been on hold for several months following intervention from opposition councillors and money awarded through a central government grant, which was offered to explore the possibility of launching trusts to manage individual libraries and moving services to shared community buildings.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said he would be working with the community and councillors ‘to transform and modernise’ the service. However Rees has only committed to maintaining current levels of funding up to the next mayoral election in 2020.

 

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Category: Library news International