East Anglian Daily Times reports
Controversial county council proposals to stop running its library service have been abandoned.
Suffolk County Council had planned to divest the service and hand over responsibility for running libraries to community groups, parish councils or other organisations. The plans could have resulted in the closure of 29 community libraries if no groups took over the running of them. However, due to the strength of feeling across the county, which resulted in a number of demonstrations in towns such as Saxmundham, Leiston and Eye, the county council has made a dramatic U-turn.
It emerged last night that the authority will retain ultimate responsibility for running libraries – although communities will have an opportunity to help run individual branches. And while there is no guarantee that all branches will be retained, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries Judy Terry said she expected the overwhelming majority to stay open. She said: “I really hope that all libraries will remain open, ultimately we would like to be able to see new libraries created for communities across the county.” The libraries are set to be run by a community interest company which will be fully owned by the county council – but will include representatives of communities across Suffolk as well as councillors and officials.