Town council steps in to run library

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SUDBURY Library is among 14 others across the county which will be part of a new pilot scheme designed to save them from closure.

Although the library on the town’s Market Hill was not thought to be under threat of closure, it has been included in a trial which will see a number of facilities run by dedicated community groups.

The project, which is set to start in April 2012, involves Suffolk County Council working closely with partners, such as town and parish councils and community groups.

It is hoped the scheme will enable the council to shave 30 per cent off its library budget over the next three years.

Groups taking over the libraries will be given funding and support, with library users seeing more outreach services and local decision making.

Jacqui Howells, deputy clerk at Sudbury Town Council, which will be taking over the library said: “We are very aware of the need of the county council to reduce its budget but are equally aware of the need to retain local services in the community.

“The library service is a facility that the town council is eager to ensure remains in Sudbury. As well as being a vital service, the building itself is of great historic importance.

“We are pleased to have been appointed as one of the pilot schemes and are looking forward to working with the county council to secure the long-term future of the library.”

The scheme will be used to assess the effectiveness of the county council’s new approach.

Judy Terry, who has headed the council’s cabinet review of its library service, said: “The groups we’re working with have told us that they are very keen to be pilot projects and help develop our new approach.

“We are very grateful for their support and will do everything we can to make their plans successful.

“We are, of course, still open to working with other groups who share our ambition of making Suffolk’s library service a strong and sustainable model for the future.”

Eventually, all of Suffolk’s libraries will be supported by a central organisation, the structure of which is subject to a “best value evaluation”, with a report being made to the council’s cabinet on the best operating model in November.