Consultation launched on the future of libraries in South Tyneside

The Word, Market Place South Shields

The Word, Market Place South Shields

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Council chiefs have launched a bid for volunteers to help run library services.

The libraries at Whitburn, East Boldon, Boldon Lane and Primrose, have all been earmarked as those that could be taken over by community groups who will run them on a voluntary basis.

They are hoping to divert more of the borough’s book lovers to its four main ‘multi-service hubs’ - The Word, Hebburn Central, Jarrow Hub and Cleadon Park.

Coun Alan Kerr, lead member for culture and leisure at the council, said: “The way that people use our libraries is changing and we must change with them. We are committed to delivering an affordable, sustainable, modern and efficient library service that meets the changing needs of our residents.

“We have come up with some proposals about what the Borough’s library service could look like in the future and would like to hear what the people think, and listen to any alterative suggestions they may have.

“One thing is clear - any organisation losing almost 50 per cent of its funding cannot afford to maintain the status quo. These funding cuts are set to continue and we must do all we can to protect vital services, like our library service, by delivering them in the most cost effective way.”

Currently, almost 80 per cent of all items borrowed across the library service and 91 per cent of all computer use takes place at the four multi-service hubs.

Ideas being put forward include the creation of library access/collection points where books pre-booked online could be collected and to extend the home reader library service.

Comments on the proposals can be emailed to libraryconsultation@southtyneside.gov.uk or residents can complete an online questionnaire at their local library or by visiting at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/libraries

The consultation runs from 1 June until 31 August.