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Review of Wrexham’s library service proposed to “ensure it is cost effective and fit for purpose”

Changes to Wrexham’s libraries – including potential changes in location and community ownership – could be introduced as part of a proposed review of the services across Wrexham.

In a ‘Difficult Decisions 2018/19 and 2019/20 – Reshaping Services/Budget Consultation’ report due before members of the Executive Board tomorrow morning, it is proposed a libraries service review takes place to ensure that is cost effective and fit for purpose.

A review of Wrexham’s library service last took place in 2013/14 when it was recommended that three local libraries – Rhos, Brymbo and Gresford – were closed.

A revised recommendation put forward in November 2013 proposed:  “In order to achieve the required saving of £92,000, it is recommended that this Committee choose between the following two options, which would have been subject to consultation.

“The first, close Brymbo and Gresford with a 19% reduction in other libraries. The second option is the original recommendation of the original three libraries closing from 1st April 2014.”

This recommendation to close the two libraries was approved in January 2014, with Gresford Library later being taken over by a trust.

Plans to transfer Wrexham’s libraries, heritage and archives services into a culture trust were put forward in 2014 – however these were later scrapped.

In a draft consultation document recommended for Executive Board approval tomorrow, it is explained that in 2018/19, Wrexham Council is making savings of £57,000 within the library service – however, it would like to get the public’s thoughts on further proposed changes.

It is also noted that whilst the council does have to deliver a library service, the way in which such a service is provided is at the local authority’s discretion.

The document continues onto say: “It is proposed that over the next couple of years, a full review of the Library Service is carried out to ensure it is cost effective and fit for purpose.

“This may involve looking at changes to existing service provision, including possible changes in location, accessibility to the services and alternative operating models including community ownership.

“Depending on the outcome of the review, investment may be required to respond to any proposed service changes resulting from the review to enable WCBC to maintain a visible and viable public library service which meets the Welsh Public Library Standards.”

The ‘Difficult Decisions 2018/19 and 2019/20 – Reshaping Services/Budget Consultation’ will be debated by members of the Executive Board at 10am tomorrow morning. For those who cannot attend the meeting it will be webcast live on the Wrexham Council website.

It is anticipated the Difficult Decisions public consultation will launch on Wednesday 25th October.

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