Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Volunteers run half of Sheffield's threatened libraries

Community groups have taken over the running of nearly half of Sheffield's libraries, saving them from closure.

Volunteers are managing 13 of the council's 28 branches from Monday.

The city council said it had to slash £1.6m from its library services budget by 2016 after it received a 50% cut in government funding.

The authority said it would continue to run 12 facilities across the city and temporarily manage two others until a plan was agreed with volunteers.

A library in Tinsley will remain open and managed by the council until 2016.

The buildings and running costs for four community-run libraries in Broomhill, Park, Southey and Woodhouse will be maintained by the city council.

'Incredible' work

For the other nine community-led facilities in Ecclesfield, Frecheville, Gleadless, Greenhill, Jordanthorpe, Newfield Green, Stannington, Totley and Upperthorpe, the authority said it would "provide up to £262,000 support per year for up to three years" to help volunteers pay for the building and running costs.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, said: "I would like to personally thank each and every volunteer for all their hard work, as they take responsibility for running their community libraries.

"Everyone has put in an incredible amount of work and I'm very pleased to say, thanks to the people of Sheffield, all 28 libraries in our city are staying open.

"The groups have come forward with some great plans for the branches and I'd encourage everyone to visit their local library to see what's on offer."

Plans for communities to run the city's libraries were approved in July after a 10,000-signature petition was submitted to the council.

More than 6,000 people had responded to a consultation on the future of the library service in 2012.

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