Deadline looms for Southampton groups wishing to take over threatened libraries

love our libraries with chris packham copyright imageThe deadline for groups to express interest in running Southampton libraries that will have their funding cut and potentially face closure is midday on October 19. Meanwhile co-op options to run libraries are due to be discussed at a meeting on Monday (Oct 12).

 

Smaller groups may be looking to partner larger organisations who can lead a bid, and library co-operative options are now actively being explored – even though it's claimed the model was dismissed in the public consultation.

Whether there's enough time by the council's deadline for organisations to in some cases club together and develop a way of keeping the libraries open, whether or not in the guise of a co-op, remains to be seen.

Friends of Cobbett Road Library, who have said they're not able to lead any bid, nonetheless stress on their Facebook page the unique benefits Cobbett has to offer to an organisation thinking of stepping in – especially the use of a large meeting space and a “vibrant community”.

The council said, on a post dated September 21 on its discoversouthampton site, it's:

“looking for organisations or partnerships which can demonstrate that they have the strong financial, performance management and accountable processes required to run a local library successfully, as well as an inclusive approach to members of the wider community. 

“The council is providing a community package to support the successful organisations which would allow them to retain the books, furniture and equipment in the library, offer computer sessions using the council’s IT software, sublet space and receive training, guidance and support from a council employee.”

Meanwhile the intricacies of setting up a library co-op of some kind in Southampton are discussed in detail on co-op development worker Nathan Brown's blog ahead of a meeting on Monday (Oct 12) called by Southampton Co-operative Development Agency for anyone interested in discussing co-operative possibilities.

Meeting details
Monday, October 12, 4pm (children welcome)
Floor 4 Meeting Room, Dukes Keep, Marsh Lane SO14 3EX

 

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