More cuts for library and museum service

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OPTIONS for the future of public libraries in the borough and Melton Carnegie Museum will be set out by the county council next month.

Melton Town Community Forum was told how the service was looking to save a further £500,000.

Opening hours have already been cut but councillors have made a commitment that there will be no library or museum closures.

Instead Leicestershire County Council will look at new ways to deliver local services and is inviting the public’s suggestions before a formal consultation in spring 2013.

Nigel Thomas, for the county council, said: “The Community and Well-Being Service has been tasked with finding overall savings of £4.2m, 40 per cent of its budget.

“About half of those savings have been found to date so we will be setting out six options for libraries and museums next month for people to consider.

“The key thing for people to understand is that it will require a combination of two or three options for us to make the savings.”

The options are:-

l Community partnership – how can local communities become more inolved in running their local library or museum

l Commissioning – outsourcing activities such as the summer reading challenge, informal help with IT and so on

l Mobile library – Re-route the service so it delivers every three weeks rather than every two

l Opening hours – Further reduce opening hours in major libraries and museums

l Devolved delivery – transfer the library and museum service to an arms-length organisation such as a mutual or charity to run on behalf of the county council

l Share buildings – for example move services into a library or a library into another building.

The consultation exercise will involve focus groups and a survey conducted online and through libraries and museums. The latter will go live late November or early December and run until March.

The findings will then go before the county council’s ruling Cabinet before any proposals are put out for formal consultation.