Dudley Council Leader says libraries will remain open

Leader of Dudley Council, Patrick Harley has assured residents that the authority is not looking to close any of the borough’s libraries.

Over recent months the council has been collecting data on usage and the types of services residents are visiting the libraries for. Visits are around 70% pre pandemic levels, and slowly increasing, while the number of those attending children’s activities is back to 2019 figures.

New modelling also demonstrates how libraries play a role in people’s wellbeing, calculating the impact of improved well-being from library usage on lower levels of GP visits and psychotherapy service usage.

GLL, who manages the service on behalf of the Council, asked Sheffield Hallam University and 4Global, which builds models to measure social value, to develop one for Dudley Libraries and this has been calculated to be £14.8m for 2022/23.

Borough libraries provide a wealth of support and activities to residents over a wide range of issues and have partnered with organisations to provide advice and guidance to people, particularly in response to the cost of living and energy crisis. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council said: 

"These are challenging times for all local authorities but thanks to our continued robust management of the budget process and having gathered data on library service usage over recent months we have been able to review these savings proposals for the library service and these have now been removed.

"Libraries have always played a key role in our communities, providing a focal point for information, advice and guidance and we are looking to move more services and partner organisations into our libraries to deliver even more for residents.

"This new social value calculation of £14.8m for Dudley libraries backs this up, demonstrating the impact of improved well-being from library usage on lower levels of GP visits and psychotherapy service usage.

"We have never undertaken this level of work on social value before and we are making a commitment to borough residents for this to continue in the future.

"I am pleased we can remove the proposed savings in this area and at the same time allay any concerns people have had about the future of this valuable service."


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