Isle of Wight Council considers new libraries

Man with lots of books in his hand The Conservative-run council said plans would have saved £633,000 by April 2012

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A council which is urging residents to help run its libraries is now contemplating opening more with the help of local communities.

The Conservative-run Isle of Wight Council initially proposed closing nine of its 11 libraries as it tried to save £32m over four years.

The authority then said it would continue managing six libraries and help community groups run the others.

It is also wants to open more in areas currently served by a mobile library.

The council said discussions were under way over the possibility of opening new facilities but did not say where they might be.

More time

Under the proposals put forward in February and agreed this week, the libraries in Newport and Ryde will remain open as originally planned.

Libraries in Sandown, Ventnor, Freshwater and Cowes will continue to be managed by the council for three days a week, with the intention of volunteers being drafted in to extend opening times.

Those in East Cowes, Bembridge, Shanklin, Niton and Brighstone will have their closure deadline extended from April until the end of June so groups have more time to develop proposals to take them on.

Councillor George Brown, who oversees libraries on the island, said the council wanted to give local communities more time to get involved in supporting them.

The island is also to be included in a government study on how local communities can help run libraries.

In January, library members took out hundreds of books from Newport as part of a mass borrow in protest at the proposed cuts.

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