South Tyneside Council is working with local communities to protect community libraries across the borough.
Following an extensive consultation period between June and September the Council is now working with community organisations to deliver library services in the four branch library areas.
As a consequence of government cutbacks in financial support, the Council has had to consider new methods of delivery so that sustainable services can be provided for the people of the Borough. The new library reconfiguration provides quality services in the best way it can with the resources it has available.
Cllr Alan Kerr, Lead Member for Culture and Leisure said "Communities across South Tyneside have come forward to work in partnership with us to protect our libraries. I am delighted at the response we have had and I am confident that the Borough's community libraries are viable in the long term.
"The public sector as a whole faces unprecedented financial challenges. At South Tyneside, our core government funding has been reduced by almost 50 per cent since 2010. By working hand in hand with the people of the Borough we have been able to find a resolution which should provide a comprehensive sustainable service going forward."
The Council will deliver library services from four modern multi- service 'hubs' which are fit for purpose and digitally enabled at:
- The Word, (National Centre for the Written Word)
- Hebburn Central
- Jarrow Hub
- Cleadon Park
The Council is now working with groups who have come forward to take over the running of the four branch libraries on a voluntary basis at:
- Boldon Lane
- East Boldon
Cllr Nancy Maxwell, Lead Member for Voluntary Sector Partnerships and Co-operatives said: "Against a background of reducing financial support from central government, we have tried all routes to keep community libraries open and we believe we have now found a solution. The people of South Tyneside have stepped up to the challenge - by thinking creatively and working more collaboratively we can meet the challenges we face together."
National published data also shows a significant increase in the number of libraries now run by the community, increasing from 109 in 2012/13 to 307 in 2015/16.
If approved by Cabinet, the Council will look to enter into long term arrangements for the four branch libraries with following organisations:
Boldon Lane Library - Action Stations
East Boldon Library - Friends of East Boldon Library
Primrose Library - Perth Green CA
Whitburn Library - Friends of Whitburn Library
South Tyneside Council's Cabinet will meet to discuss the proposals on Wednesday 11 December 2017.