Library to be co-run by groups

Walkley Library  hub of the community
Walkley Library hub of the community
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A Sheffield library which still had its future up in the air will be jointly run by two community groups.

Fifteen libraries across the city were saved from closure in June after Sheffield Council announced plans for branches including Ecclesfield, Stannington and Frecheville to be run by volunteers with financial help for three years.

Talks were still ongoing over Walkley Library after two different groups submitted plans to run it.

Now the authority has handed the library to both Walkley Community Library Futures Group and Forum Café Bars together.
Coun Mazher Iqbal, council cabinet member for communities, said: “I’m delighted the Walkley Community Group and Forum have agreed to come together to prepare a joint plan to manage Walkley Library.”

Chris Reece, Chair of the Walkley Community Library Futures Group, said: “We believe there could be great scope to link library events with the catering and social opportunities that will be offered by Forum Café Bars. We are hoping to exploit the strengths of both parties to create an exciting proposal.

“However, while a joint enterprise can be seen as a great opportunity to retain the library in an exciting format, we do not underestimate the enormity or complexities of the task.

“With our growing number of friends and volunteers we will strive through negotiations with the council and the Forum to provide a continuing and vibrant library service for the community of Walkley.”

Sheffield Council is continuing to run 11 ‘hub libraries’ across the city including Central, Hillsborough and Darnall.

Community running of other libraries came about after the authority said it needed to cut £1.6 million in two years from its libraries budget.

Coun Iqbal added: “We are committed to doing all we can to keep all libraries in the city open. The response from community groups has been incredible and I would like to give my sincere thanks for all their hard work and efforts.”