City of York Council plans for libraries future

The City of York Council is to consider proposals for the future development of its libraries and archives amongst budget pressures.

If agreed by the authority’s executive, the council will appoint an operator for the service for the next 15 years with a contract of £32 million, maintaining the existing level of funding despite pressure on budgets.

The consultation is engaging with residents and workers over the need to retain key services such as borrowing books, providing a reading and studying space, and providing access to computers, as well as the desirability of providing a reading cafe on site. Other key elements of the consultation feedback include: the importance of the library as a community hub with opening hours to reflect the needs of local residents; providing state of the art learning spaces.

Key proposals for the future service include: virtual libraries providing a 24/7 online service, involving e books and e magazines, with virtual spaces for people to share ideas and providing reading cafes, encouraging the joy of reading especially for those who may feel uncomfortable in a more traditional library.

Nigel Ayre, executive member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “At a time when local government finance is under real pressure and libraries are closing we’re pleased to be keeping all libraries open, delivering new facilities such as Centre@Burnholme, at Heworth. York residents are rightly proud of our libraries and archives service. We need to put plans in place now to safeguard the future of our libraries and to ensure that the service continues to evolve and develop to meet the needs of residents now and in the future, which is why we’re proposing to maintain the existing funding levels for the new contract.”

The council’s existing five-year contract with Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Limited expires on 31 March 2019.

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