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Libraries Group begins work

Town Hall Published: Friday, 17th March 2017

The group set up to develop a sustainable future for Warrington’s library service has held its first public meeting.

Taking place at the Town Hall on Wednesday 15th March, the Warrington Libraries Working Group’s inaugural meeting saw members discussing the vision, principles, roles and objectives of the group.

Members of the public were also in attendance at the meeting, giving them the opportunity to listen to discussions on the feedback to the recent public consultation, hear about the local and national picture for libraries and ask questions. 

The group also began to explore ways in which libraries ‘Friends of’ groups and other community partners could play an important role in shaping the future of libraries in Warrington.

Warrington Borough Council’s Chief Executive, and Chair of the group, Professor Steven Broomhead, said: “This was a very constructive, informative first meeting, which laid the foundations for how we will be working together over the coming months in order to test the feasibility of business cases that came from the consultation recommendations.

“I believe the different areas of expertise brought by the group’s members will leave us well placed to take account of, respond to and build on the feedback we received during our public consultation on the issue.

“We are all agreed that our priority is to define an achievable and sustainable strategy for libraries, wellbeing and community learning.”

Future meetings will see the group examining proposals for each of the borough’s libraries, developing business cases and carrying out needs and impact assessments. 

The group will also meet to hear project updates, discuss on-going issues, barriers and challenges and explore the feasibility of a range of options and ideas. The group will also consider best practice from elsewhere.

The group will, initially, meet every three weeks, with the next meeting taking place on Wednesday 5 April. Meetings will be held in public – except for when discussing information considered confidential under Access to Information Rules. 

Meeting papers will be published on the council’s website and an engagement and communications plan is being developed, to ensure library users have the opportunity to help shape the plans.

About the group

•    Chaired by Professor Steven Broomhead, the Libraries Working Group is made up of council officers, LiveWire Warrington officers and independent advisors who come from library users and advocates and the voluntary sector.

•    The Working Group’s main priority is to implement a modernisation programme aimed at ensuring a sustainable libraries and wellbeing offer for Warrington residents.

•    Its objectives include looking closely at the recommendations received, following the recent consultation on the future of the library service, run by LiveWire on behalf of the council. 

•    A full set of recommendations will be presented by the group, for consideration by Warrington Borough Council’s executive board, later this year.