The LibDem motion was tabled at a Council meeting amidst fears that the Tory leadership wanted to impose budget cuts which would lead to library closures. Tories are also apparently looking to change the Library provider in the city from the current (very successful) Trust to a different contractor.
In 2019 the council is due to enter into a new contract for library services and wants to hear from residents about their future needs to help inform the contract.
A media release from the Council says, “York’s libraries are very successful. The council’s provider, Explore York, has introduced many new services, visitor numbers and book issues are good and the service offers excellent value for money. Library users are very satisfied with the current service, particularly valuing libraries as spaces for the community to come together, where everybody is welcome.
Nonetheless, the council recognises that it cannot stand still, and wants to build on Explore’s success to ensure that the service continues to meet changing needs and expectations in the years ahead.
The council recognises that users want to see improvement in the fabric of the library buildings. This reflects the fact that many of the buildings are in poor condition, needing around £3m spending on them in the coming years. The consultation should help target the council’s investment to best effect.
The council’s vision is to have libraries as centres of learning and opportunity for all. This would see state-of-the-art learning spaces stocked with a broad range of materials that promote reading and literacy and support people with the information they need. Flexible spaces would support formal and informal learning including a range of learning programmes, complemented by the latest digital technologies with free, online access.
Acomb Explore Library
The council’s online survey is seeking feedback on the proposed vision and the range of library buildings to meet residents’ needs. In addition, the council wants to understand future needs, gauge volunteer capacity and ask whether or not people want to see other services co-located in libraries”.
Councillor Ann Reid, interim executive member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “It is important that we really understand what residents would like to see for the future of their library services and whether our vision for the service and the buildings is on the right lines. I would urge everyone to take this chance to let us know their views.
“To understand what residents would like to see for the future of their library services and whether our vision for the service and the buildings is on the right lines, please complete the survey before Wednesday 14 February 2018 at www.york.gov.uk/consultations. Staff at any library or West Offices will be happy to help.”
The motion carried by the Council against Tory opposition said,