York Libraries – call for more transparency over future

York Explore Library

Staff working in York’s libraries are understandably concerned about the lack of any announcement about the future of the service.

The libraries are currently run by “Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Limited” company.

Their contract comes to an end in March 2019.

In June 2018 the Council decided to tender for the continuation of the service.

A report raised several worrying options including the introduction of “volunteer” run branches. Others were concerned that a large leisure management company based outside the City would take over the service.

The contract on offer is believed to be worth £32 million and covers a 15 year period.

Acomb Explore Library

The present management arrangements are essentially a development of the team that led the library organisation when it was run by the Council. They have had a generally successful 5 years with, against the national trend,  user numbers stable and some useful innovations like the reading café in Rowntree Park introduced.

An updated report on the Libraries recent activities was published yesterday (it says that they can now handle visa applications – a role that the Post Office revealed, during consultations about the relocation of the Lendal office to W H Smiths, they were losing)

The Councils Forward Plan which lists all major upcoming decisions runs until 28th April 2019.

It does not include a decision item on the future of the library service.

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