Four Liverpool libraries face closure

Four libraries in Liverpool are facing closure as a result of government cuts, meaning the city will have lost over half of its libraries in the last two years.

As part of a plan to plug a £90 million hole in the council’s budget over the next three years, the unnamed libraries face cuts to prevent the council from withdrawing funds from other areas such as adult and children social care services.

Mayor Joe Anderson has set up a task force to review the library service, with the intention to save £1.6 million in the financial year 2018/19. He stressed that while alternatives to library closures will be considered, such as transferring the running of libraries to community groups, ‘it is likely that around four libraries will close in 2019’.

Liverpool now has 14 libraries run by the council in the region, although council officials have said that transferring its library services over to outside organisations had been a ‘halfway house solution’ to avoid closure, and that there was no certainty on their future.

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has joined Anderson in calling upon national and local government to support a raft of measures to protect library services across the country, with emergency relief funds and realistic long term planning the ideal goals.

Nick Poole, CILIP chief executive, said: “This is yet another example of the severe financial pressures that local authorities are under. We back Liverpool city council’s call to central government to provide more support so they can run statutory services such as public libraries.”

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