Views sought on Cumbria library shake-up

Libraries in shops and pubs and communities getting involved in running them, are among the ideas for a major shake-up of the service in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council is encouraging people to take part in its review.

It said it had not been sparked by spending cuts but a need to modernise because of a drop in library use.

The council said it wanted to focus more on providing the right services in the right places, rather than simply on buildings and opening hours.

It will maintain its £6m spending on its 48 libraries, five Library Links and three mobile libraries.

'Community libraries'

It said there had been a 20% drop in visitor numbers in the last five years and last year 500,000 fewer items were borrowed from libraries compared to 2005.

It plans to strengthen its libraries in towns and for other parts of the county the plan would be for community libraries.

Council director of adult and local services, Richard Parry, said: "There are no preconceptions to this debate and we may end up with more library access points in Cumbria than we have now - or we may end up with fewer.

"It depends on what people want to see changing, how keen they are to get involved, and what can be delivered."

A consultation document has been published and the council said it would ask for views until June.

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