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D-Day for Sheffield library plans

Jenny Owens who is Chairman of the Broomhill Library Group which wants to take over the running of the building

Jenny Owens who is Chairman of the Broomhill Library Group which wants to take over the running of the building

  • by Ellen Beardmore
 

Campaigners hoping to take over libraries across Sheffield will today learn if their business plans have been approved.

They are expecting calls to confirm if they can start the next stage in running libraries which were relinquished from council control in a controversial cash-saving measure.

Groups submitted business plans earlier this month and an assessment panel has considered them.

But the results will not be publicly available until Wednesday as the council has told groups to keep the news confidential so staff can be briefed.

Jenny Owen, new chairman of the group hoping to take over Broomhill library as a co-funded facility, told The Star: “We’ve heard that they have welcomed the quality of the proposals but we haven’t had a final decision yet - that’s what we are all waiting for.

“They want us to keep recruiting volunteers but the thing that is in everybody’s minds is that the timescale is short and we want to get this functioning by October 1.

“There is quite a lot of detail to thrash out about volunteers, buildings and timescales.”

The council relinquished control of 15 libraries, and approved plans to cut 75 staff, in February after months of protests. Groups that fought to save sites have worked tirelessly since on takeover plans.

Coun Penny Baker, Sheffield Liberal Democrat spokesman for libraries, said the council should still go further ‘guarantee the future’ of libraries.

She added: “Community groups have put in a Herculean effort to prepare bids and I’ve been impressed by the incredible community spirit. It’s clear to many people this has been achieved in spite of the council, rather than because of them.”

 

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