Proposals for the future of the library service to go ahead

Published Monday, 23 March 2015

Proposals for the future of the Bromley library service were given the go ahead by a council scrutiny committee last week.

Work to develop procurement processes for Community Management at the six community libraries in the borough and a soft market testing exercise for the management of the core service will now get underway. The proposals were considered by the Renewal and Recreation Policy Development and Scrutiny (PDS) following significant consultation with library users and staff.  

This follows a review of the library service which includes these options to modernise the service and make improvements, while making savings and protecting the core service.  Discussions will also take place with Bexley Council to undertake joint procurement strategies for the library service going forwards.  

“Following significant investment into our service, we are committed to doing all we can to keep libraries open while having to make very tough decisions in these difficult financial times.  The proposals for Community Management of some libraries and market testing of the core service will allow us to maintain a modern and efficient service while keeping our libraries open” said Councillor Peter Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal and Recreation.  

Procurement processes will get underway in April on the development of Community Management options at the borough’s Community Libraries which are Burnt Ash, Hayes, Mottingham, Shortlands, Southborough and St Paul’s Cray.  This option is desired to enable these libraries to remain open and tailored to the needs of the local community, despite the current financial restraints faced. 

A soft market testing exercise will be carried out on the core library service from May to August in order to protect the service, keeping libraries open, while making savings.  Any decisions taken regarding the Community Library management options will be taken into consideration while considering the future of the core service. 

Around the borough, recent investment into a modern library service includes the new Penge library which opened in August, the Biggin Hill dual use library and swimming pool which opened in 2010 and the new Orpington library which opened in July 2011, with increased visitor numbers and book borrowing. These new facilities underline the strategy of modernising the library service, increasing efficiency and creating a service for the 21st century.  

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Notes to editors:

  • Council savings of more than £60 million must be made from an overall budget of around £206 million over the next four years.  
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