Consultation from 30th September – November 8th 2019
Shropshire Council are running a consultation to help them develop a new library strategy. We would encourage people to respond to this survey, so Shropshire Council continue to hear how much the library service in Church Stretton is valued.
You can find the survey at https://shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/library-strategy-engagement-and-consultation/
Why a New Strategy?
We are not surprised Shropshire Council is developing a new strategy so soon after the previous one, approved in Jan 2018. In this earlier strategy, tier 2 libraries such as Church Stretton were meant to be:
- Hosted and managed by local community organisations within contract arrangements with Shropshire Council
- Receive a maximum of five year time limited tapered revenue support from Shropshire Council and be totally funded by the local community by the end of 2022/23
In Jan 2018 a procurement exercise was carried out where Shropshire Council invited local community organisations to bid to run the library in Church Stretton. None of the bids put forward were found to be viable.
In January 2019, Shropshire Library services proposed a different approach where they continued to manage the library in Church Stretton, with financial support from both the Town Council and Friends of Church Stretton Library. We welcomed this approach believing it to be a much more practical and viable approach to outsourcing.
Church Stretton Library Support Group and the Town Council both challenged the unfairness of the 2018 strategy in which libraries in the largest (Tier 1) towns would continue to be funded from the county council tax. Smaller towns such as Church Stretton would be expected to pay for their Tier 2 Libraries from an additional local council tax, and would face potential reductions in staffing and opening hours. In addition, these smaller towns also faced the prospect of having to take on the funding of leisure services, youth services, street lighting and other services. There would also be no contribution from the many surrounding parishes, whose residents also use Tier 2 libraries.
We will be making our own more detailed response to Shropshire Council, and making the strongest representation that the new Library Strategy will address these issues in a way which is much fairer for towns such as Church Stretton.
Your response will help
We would encourage individuals to respond to this survey, before the dead-line of November 8th so that Shropshire Council understand how local residents value not only the current opening hours but also the range of services provided by the library
The survey can be found online at:
Table of Tier 1, 2 and 3 libraries
Tier 1 Libraries: Shrewsbury, Lantern, Oswestry, Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Ludlow, Bridgnorth
Tier 2 Libraries: Cleobury Mortimer, Church Stretton, Bishop’s Castle, Ellesmere, Wem, Pontesbury and Albrighton
Tier 3 Libraries : Brosely, Shifnal, Highley, Craven Arms, Much Wenlock, Gobowen, Bayston Hill