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Plans for the future of Hagley Library revealed
Updated 4:07pm Thursday 13th March 2014 in News
HAGLEY residents will have to fork out to keep their library open following Worcestershire County Council's review of the county's library services.
Volunteers will also be asked to help run the Worcester Road library as staffing levels will be reduced to save cash.
Concerned about the future of the library, around 150 residents packed into St Saviours church hall last Wednesday as officials from the county council and Hagley Parish Council revealed their plans.
They were told that while cuts were inevitable, there was no intention to close the library or reduce the current level of service.
Instead, savings will be made by cutting down on staff and transferring the running of the building to the parish council, who would in turn, increase the precept residents pay by £5 per year to cover costs.
This would be an interim solution as it was revealed the intention is to eventually move the library into a community hub.
Steve Mobley, the county council's quality and standards manager, said: "We don't want to close the library or reduce the level of service, have less books or have so few staff that have have to halve the opening hours, that is the beginning of the end.
"We have no plans for compulsory redundancies, we don't think there is a need for that, however we have made staff savings by looking at the jobs people do."
Money will be saved as temporary staff contracts will not be renewed and when managers leave, other managers would be drawn in to cover and have more than one library under their jurisdiction.
He added that when managers were off-site attending to other libraries, they would be covered by library support assistants, providing the same service to those visiting the library, but at a lesser cost.
Councillor Steve Colella, chairman of Hagley Parish Council, announced: "The proposal on the table is that the parish council look after the bricks and mortar of the building."
He estimated it would cost between £10-15,000 per year, which would mean increasing the precept.
Cllr Colella said this would be the equivalent of a "few pence per day" and added: "I don't think that is too bad to ask people to contribute to keep the library service open.
"We will ask the local parish councils to contribute and recognise that their residents use the service."
County Councillor Rachel Jenkins added: "We can't change what's in front of us but we are looking for volunteers to come in for a couple of hours a week and hep run it. To sustain the library in the future, we do want to put it into a community hub if we can and keep it open.
"We need Hagley Parish Council to support the running costs through the precept and move forward into the future."
Cllr Colella added: "The community hub will be where the community centre is at the moment.
"It is all part of a master plan and there will be a consultation process in the near future."
When the meeting concluded, residents were asked to come forward if they would consider volunteering at the library.
Cllr Colella told the News that 20 people had expressed an interest.
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