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Bexley councillor Peter Catterall asks for help to save libraries
12:52pm Thursday 10th February 2011 in News
FEARS Bexley Council hopes to close a number of the borough’s libraries are unfounded, says the cabinet member in charge.
Councillor Peter Catterall, responsible for leisure arts and tourism has told his cabinet colleagues the fears are based on “a fair amount of misinformation”.
Speaking at a council cabinet meeting he said: “It is not our objective to go out of our way to close libraries, but to see if we can find other ways of achieving savings without ending the service.”
Cllr Catterall said there were ways of funding community organisations willing to work with the council to provide some libraries.
He claimed this would bring benefits to the community groups involved and public appreciation, as well as giving the public a service.
Cllr Catterall said: “This has been successful elsewhere in the country and other boroughs are doing the same.
He urged people to get involved in the library consultation which closes on February 18.
The borough’s libraries cost around £6m a year and Bexley is hoping to shave nearly £1m off the bill.
Cllr Catterall said: “We are open to any suggestions about how to provide the services people need at less cost the council taxpayers.”
He added: “We want to develop libraries into places that meet the particular needs of their local communities.
“In some places they may look much like our current libraries.
“In others, they may become somewhere where people can borrow books, but also where parents can visit a toddler group, teenagers a homework club and older people a social club.”
Five libraries, in Bexley Village, Bostall, Northumberland Heath, Slade Green and Upper Belvedere have been identified as suitable for community management.
You can take part in the consultation through your local library or log onto bexley.gov.uk