A TRIAL scheme where a community group takes over the running of a Blackburn library has been given the go-ahead by councillors.
Town hall bosses want to save just over £500,000 from the borough’s £2million library budget over the next two years.
One of the solutions is seen as the creation of a series of “gateway” libraries — with friends’ groups paid by the council to assume the management of some of the borough’s smaller facilities.
Roman Road Library will be the pilot for the move, where it is envisaged the change will save around £36,000 per year.
Blackburn with Darwen Council are now tendering to see what groups would be interested in the proposition.
Coun Damien Talbot, executive member for leisure and culture, said the move was a way of “reducing costs but still ensuring residents have access to facilities”.
He said: “We want to work with partner organisations and community groups to see how they can play a role in the management of the building and offer services alongside ours.
“At the public consultation, the community sent a clear message that they wanted to retain library provision in the existing building but were quite supportive and interested in looking at options for shared usage.”
If the gateway model proves successful then it could result in similar provisions being introduced at Mill Hill’s New Chapel Street library and Livesey Library in Cherry Tree Lane.
Library service manager Kath Sutton, in a report to the council’s executive, admitted the stock will be limited, there may be fewer computers and opening hours could be reduced.
Books could still be ordered from other branches and a full range of book clubs and literacy programmes offered.
The opening hours at the borough’s main libraries in Blackburn and Darwen have already been reduced.