Handing over the running of Sheffield’s libraries to volunteers is ‘not a sustainable solution’, protesters have warned.
User groups have called for facilities to remain under the council’s control following the announcement that £262,000 in public health funding will be spread between 10 venues every year for the next three years to cover running costs.
Proposals would see Broomhill, Upperthorpe, Greenhill, Tinsley, Jordanthorpe, Ecclesfield, Stannington, Frecheville, Totley, Gleadless and Walkley libraries awarded council cash towards expenses such as heating, but staffing and other running responsibilities would fall to the public.
Broomhill Library Action Group said it is looking to launch legal action to keep the facility manned and maintained by the city council ahead of decision day at Sheffield Town Hall next Wednesday.
Chairman Hugh Cotton said: “Our view has always been to fight this. Libraries are going to need some professional staff.
“We submitted a business plan initially just to try to protect the library but it’s a huge responsibility. I don’t know who is going to run it. You have to be really committed.
“It could start enthusiastically for the first year or two, but what happens after that?
“The council got it wrong in the first instance. Rather than spreading staff and having an element of volunteer-run services at all libraries, it is ploughing all resources in to hubs.”
Matt Kik, of Save Totley Library, said: “Volunteer-run libraries are not sustainable. There are a lot of people who have come forward but enthusiasm wanes. In three years we could be faced with the same situation again.”