Swindon Council libraries face axe

Ten libraries in Swindon are set to close unless community groups volunteer to take them over, Swindon Council has warned.

Staff were informed that the council needed to save £1.5 million per year from its libraries budget.

The meeting was told a ‘core network’ of the five remaining libraries would accommodate 80 per cent of visits, 84 per cent of users, and 91 per cent of residents living within two miles of one.

If approved by borough council's cabinet and the scrutiny committee the measures will be actioned from next April.

The five libraries are Central, North Swindon, West Swindon, Highworth, and Park.

The 10 other libraries will see opening hours reduced to 15 hours per week from 5 April and it is anticipated those libraries will now remain funded until 31 August.

Expressions of interest to run a community library need to be made before the end of January and a one-off fund of up to £500,000 will be available to fund the transition.