At its latest meeting, at Stockton Heath Library, the group discussed how the book fund has been reduced in recent years as a result of increased financial pressures on Warrington Borough Council and library operator, LiveWire.
The chair of the group and chief executive of Warrington Borough Council, Professor Steven Broomhead, agreed to recommend that the executive board carry out a fresh review of the amount of money spent on library books and digital services when the group’s final recommendations are presented in November.
Professor Broomhead said: “The impact of local government cuts have, of course, impacted on all aspects of libraries, including investment in book and digital stock.
“However, the working group recognises that a wide, varied and high quality selection of books and access to online resources is an important part of any investment in the future of our libraries. Therefore, I’ve agreed to put it to our executive board, as part of my final report, a specific recommendation to have a look at current library stock and to explore how this could be improved.”
Business cases to secure the future of Stockton Heath, Westbrook, and Birchwood libraries were also presented at the meeting.
The group heard how a separate ‘working group’ had been created in Stockton Heath and that members of the group – which includes borough and parish councillors – have been exploring options to hire space in the library building to other community-minded organisations.
Options to relocate Westbrook Library to make it more accessible as part of the redevelopment of the Westbrook District Centre were also discussed, along with the possibility of relocating Birchwood Library to Birchwood Leisure and Tennis Centre – which is situated directly opposite the current library.
The group also heard how Warrington’s unique hub model, used for delivering a number of services in one location, is being used as a national case study of best practice in numerous industry and government papers.
The next public meeting of the Warrington Libraries Working Group takes place on Wednesday 19 July at Warrington Central Library. Future group meetings will also be held at different community of libraries, to give members further insight into facilities across the borough.
Meeting papers can be found by visiting the council’s website www.warrington.gov.uk and typing ‘Libraries Working Group’ into the search box.