07 July 2016

Library users are being asked to complete a survey to help inform the future support package given by Sheffield City Council to community-led libraries run by volunteers.

The authority remains committed to providing support once the current arrangements, agreed in 2014, come to an end next March.

In Sheffield there are 28 libraries, 16 of which are run by volunteers. Responsibilities changed hands in 2014 when volunteers stepped in after budget cuts meant Sheffield City Council could no longer afford to run all branches. This meant all libraries in Sheffield have remained open.

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for libraries at Sheffield City Council, said: “Libraries are fantastic places and provide many benefits for hundreds of thousands of people in Sheffield every year. I am absolutely committed to helping them develop in the future.

“In the near future, we will be setting out a support package for community-led libraries run by volunteers. This will give them the stability and security they need to help them develop into stronger organisations that can achieve even more for their communities.

“There are no plans to change the current mix of 12 council run libraries and 16 community-led ones. We’re not revisiting the decision made in 2014 which led to some libraries transferring hands from the council to volunteers and I don’t anticipate any closures.

“This review is about looking positively to the future and thinking about the type of services we want to see in our libraries. The volunteers, and our own staff, have put a huge amount into running the libraries and I want to thank them all for their continued work that continues to make such a huge difference to our communities”.

The current support for community-led libraries – agreed up to March 2017 – includes maintaining the library buildings and associated costs in five ‘co-delivered’ branches. Eleven ‘associate’ libraries receive a support package worth £262,000 per year (split across the branches) to cover running costs.

The council’s work to define the future support includes gathering information from the community-led branches, carrying out interviews with library volunteers and running a survey of library users. This will inform a Cabinet report in the autumn, where a decision will be made about the precise details of the future support package and the library services that are offered.

Bob Mynors from STAND, the Stannington and District Library Group, said: “Stannington Library is pleased with Sheffield City Council’s commitment to backing the community-led libraries in the city.
“Its package of financial and practical support will be vital to the continued success of all the volunteers who are keeping these libraries open and working for the people of Sheffield.”

The co-delivered libraries are: Broomhill, Burngreave, Park, Southey and Woodhouse.

The associate libraries are: Ecclesfield, Frecheville, Gleadless, Greenhill, Jordanthorpe, Newfield Green, Stannington, Tinsley, Totley, Upperthorpe and Walkley.

The survey runs from Thursday 7 July until Thursday 18 August. Visit http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/libraries or your local branch to take the survey and find out more.