Service set to be reduced

June 30 2017

THE council’s plans are for closure of more than half of Bristol’s 27 libraries.

THE council’s plans are for closure of more than half of Bristol’s 27 libraries.

It has come up with three options based on different priorities – deprivation and community need, the state of the building, its location, and how well it is used.

In each case, the plan is for the Junction 3 Library in St Paul’s to be the main Area Library for the east of the city. Fishponds Library, in Robinson House, pictured, would become a Local Library, staffed three days a week for a total of 22.5 hours, rather than the current 36 hours over six days.

Swipe-card access, which has recently been trialled at St George Library, would be available at other times.

Hillfields Library, which was refurbished last year so that the building could be shared with Little Hayes Nursery, is earmarked for closure in all three options.

However, the council is keen to hear from anyone interested in taking on part of the library service, which could lead to community groups keeping branch libraries open with volunteers.

The Little Hayes Hub and the project at The Old Library at Eastville - which was shut in a previous round of cuts and transferred to a local group to run as a community centre - are being hailed as creative models of  how to keep facilities open. 

Cabinet councillor  Asher Craig said: “Our existing public library service was built decades ago and since then there have been major changes in population, transport, technology and patterns of use. Our proposals are based on robust evidence and an assessment of local needs.  The proposals offer the opportunity to explore a range of possibilities which will transform the service, including where and how it is provided. We are open to suggestions such as integrating and possibly co-locating libraries with other services or community facilities.”