Library cash could be a ‘poisoned chalice’

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A campaigner fears a plan to give community groups cash to run closure-threatened libraries in Sheffield is a ‘poisoned chalice’.

Sheffield Council has announced a proposal of creating a £262,000 pot for groups to bid for money towards the running costs of 10 independent libraries.

Louise Harrison Walker, who is involved with the city-wide library and Totley library campaign groups, said: “I’m encouraged that the councillors are showing signs they understand the feedback from people.

“But coming up with this money and making people bid for it is not enough.

“I am a bit concerned that this is a bit of a poisoned chalice. Every site really needs to have a member of staff – even part-time.

“What the council have really said is we’re not going to change our position, we’ll come up with a little bit of funding, but it doesn’t really change the model that was proposed last year.”

The council claims the new funding plan showed it has ‘listened’ to consultation involving more than 7,000 people.

A decision on the new proposal will be made at the council’s cabinet meeting next Wednesday.