Calls for Bristol’s libraries to be linked with museums

A campaign group is asking for Bristol’s libraries and museums to be combined.

Members of the Friends of Redland Library group are challenging Bristol City Council to come up with a long-term solution to maintain the city’s library service.

In an open letter to cabinet member for people Asher Craig, the group has asked the authority to consider creating a special community asset department for libraries and look at combining libraries with museums.

It comes after the council made a U-turn in July and reversed its plans to save £.1.4million by closing 17 of the city’s 27 libraries.

Speaking at the time, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees guaranteed to maintain the current level of library provision until the next Mayoral election in 2020.

However, many fear this will simply delay the closures rather than create a long-term solution.

Communities around Bath and North East Somerset are responding to shrinking budgets with plans to open libraries of their own
Calls for Bristol’s libraries to be linked with museums (Image: Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images)

In the letter, Friends of Redland Library says it is “keen to engage” with the council in its efforts to create a 50-year plan for the service.

The letter states: “Libraries have a much larger role to play than the current remit. Libraries can be involved in delivering skills, outreach and interaction with council service.

“Friends of Redland Library believes areas which need to be discussed [include whether] libraries should join with museums and archives?

“Should Libraries sit above the council directorates acting as a resource to all of them – a one-stop-shop for information, resources and council services?”

The group suggests the council could create a community asset department for libraries which would focus on “improving the value of assets” and searching for donations and funding.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees (Image: BristolLive)

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said an update on the development of the city’s library service will be heard at the next cabinet meeting on Tuesday, October 3.

“Back in July the Mayor and his cabinet took the decision to retain all 27 libraries across the city and remove the £1.4 million budget saving target,” the spokesperson said.

“There are many models of libraries and other departments working together nationally, these include museums, archives, children’s services and leisure services. While we have not ruled anything out, there are no current plans to pursue this approach within the current council structure.”

Courtesy of BristolPost

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