CONCERNS are being raised over the future of Redditch Library following plans announced by Worcestershire County Council.
The authority is looking at the possibility of another public sector organisation moving into the Alcester Street building to share its floor space with the aim of creating a ‘hub’.
The model has already been trialled elsewhere in the county with libraries hosting groups like the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Department for Work and Pensions.
However, leading Redditch county councillor Joe Baker (Lab, Arrow Valley East) fears the loss of floor space could lead to a downsizing of the library and a loss of service for local people.
“To make room for this other organisation how many of the library’s services are going to be cut? Will it affect the opening times and will this eventually lead to our library being staffed by volunteers like at Woodrow?” he said.
The county council says it already has a public sector partner interested in the plan and is to run a public consultation from August 31 to September 13 at the library for people to express their views.
However, Coun Baker said: “What’s the point of having a consultation if they’ve already got something lined up? It’s the county council doing what the county council does best and just railroading things through. This is just another way this Tory council transformation team is downsizing an already strapped for funding service.”
Councillor Lucy Hodgson, (Con, Malvern Chase), cabinet member for localism and communities, said: “Sharing our library buildings is really innovative. It enables the Libraries and Learning Service to reduce premises costs, generate income and in turn secure the future of the service.”
She added: “We are not making cuts, we are making better use of Redditch library.”
Library customers and residents can discuss the plans with county staff on Thursday (September 1) from 4pm to 6pm and Monday (September 5) from 10am to 12noon or email their feedback to [email protected]