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Libraries 'cannot continue as we are'

LIBRARIES across Buckinghamshire could soon be run by groups of volunteers in order to save Buckinghamshire County Council hundreds of thousands of pounds.

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LIBRARIES across Buckinghamshire could soon be run by groups of volunteers in order to save Buckinghamshire County Council ( BCC ) hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The libraries, which include those in Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross, Great Missenden, Farnham Common and Iver Heath, would become community partnerships under the scheme, which could save BCC almost £700,000.

The plan comes as BCC looks to save £90million during the next four years.

The libraries would follow the example set by Chalfont St Giles and Little Chalfont, which are already run by members of the community.

In the recent Bucks Debate process, people were asked which services they thought the community could help to provide, and the running of libraries was one that came up.

The costs of running libraries in the county has already been slashed by more than £1.2m in the past year, which is 17 per cent of library service's annual budget.

The issue is now a matter for consultation, and people are being asked for their views on the subject.

In a statement, the council said: "We need to make radical changes to the way we currently work in order to make more savings.

"The library service needs to reduce costs by a further £688,000, which is 12 per cent over the next three years. This means that we cannot continue to do everything we do now.

"From feedback to the Bucks Debate we know that most Buckinghamshire residents value library services and that they are important as a social and community space.

"Further recent public consultations have also highlighted that libraries could be used as community facilities for vulnerable groups and local community groups.

"However, we need to find alternative and low cost ways of delivering library services that involve your community and we are seeking ideas, views and public participation to help us do this.

"We are proposing that the future library service in Buckinghamshire is developed around a 'county and community' model."

This new scheme would involve county libraries being built in areas of high population in Buckinghamshire, which would include Beaconsfield and Amersham, and other libraries in the county being community run.

* What do you think? Email jackabell@trinitysouth.co.uk.

 
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Journalists

Mort Smith
Community Editor
Jack Abell
Reporter (Gerrards Cross, Denham and Iver)
Camilla Goodman
Reporter (Chesham and surrounding villages)
Laura Mowat
Reporter (Amersham, Little Chalfont)
Lorcan Lovett
Reporter (Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles, Great Missenden and Prestwood)
Jo-Anne Rowney
Reporter (Beaconsfield, Stoke Poges, Seer Green and Jordans, Hedgerley, Fulmer and Farnham Common)
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