Volunteers asked to take over seven Kirklees Council libraries to help avoid axe: Find out which are affected here and have your say

VOLUNTEERS will be asked to take over libraries around Huddersfield.

Shepley Library and Information Centre.


VOLUNTEERS will be asked to take over libraries around Huddersfield.

Kirklees Council today announced plans for seven libraries to be run by unpaid residents rather than staff.

Officials have suggested the move to allow the council to reduce its budget without closing any centres.

Libraries in Slaithwaite, Golcar, Honley, Lepton, Kirkheaton, Denby Dale and Shepley will be affected.

If the plan goes ahead the libraries will be run by volunteers with support from a neighbouring council-staffed library.

Kirklees Cabinet member for resources Clr Shabir Pandor said the proposed change would ensure the libraries stayed open.

There have been some rumours that libraries will close, he said. Thats not the case no libraries are going to close.

Weve got massive cuts but were going to be involving the community to help us deliver the service.

The Batley West Labour man said the plan was in line with the coalition Governments Big Society programme which encourages volunteers to take over running services usually provided by councils.

We want people to shape their services for their local community because the needs of somewhere like Batley will be different to somewhere like Denby Dale, said Clr Pandor.

Were working with local councillors to see how the libraries should be run in their areas. Local people will be involved and we will use assets more creatively.

There has already been a lot of people who have shown an interest so we will be working in a few pilot areas where people will be involved in running their local libraries.

Clr Pandor added that volunteer-run libraries would offer self-service books and public access computers as a minimum. The change would allow the seven libraries to have different opening times.

Most buildings are open from 9am to 5pm, but there are lots of activities which happen from 5pm to 9am, said Clr Pandor. It will enhance the service. We are rethinking what we do and will provide services that are responsive and focussed to peoples needs.

Its up to the local community to decide what time a service is open. Were not saying that they have to do certain set hours. Each community is very different and they will work it out for themselves.

It remains unclear if librarian jobs will be lost as a result of the changes.

Clr Pandor added: We will do everything to safeguard staff and if I could guarantee jobs I would do.

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