Liverpool

Wedding proposal for future of Liverpool's libraries

Liverpool Central Library Image copyright Google
Image caption There are 750,000 visits to Central Library per year

Weddings could take place in Liverpool Central Library under plans to make money from the library service.

An independent report on the future of the city's libraries has proposed generating income through weddings, a shop in Central Library and renting space to businesses.

Author Jan Parry, chairwoman of the Library Advisory Task Group, said no change "is not an option".

Mayor Joe Anderson said he is "determined" to keep libraries open.

The report makes ten recommendations for the council to consider including ways to make libraries sustainable.

Using Liverpool Central Library on William Brown Street to host weddings - possibly in conjunction with St George's Hall - could generate income for the service, the report said.

Other proposals include:

  • co-locating libraries with health facilities and job centres
  • extending the Home Library Service
  • longer opening hours by introducing self-service facilities
  • working with schools to encourage more children to use libraries
  • extending the role of volunteers

'Sustainable' future

The report also suggests four alternative ways of providing library services.

These are transferring some libraries to community groups, offering the entire library service as a community interest company or trust, privatising the service by outsourcing to an external service or joining forces with other local authorities in the Liverpool City Region to share the service.

The authors of the report say they do not advocate any of these models and that it is a decision for the council to make.

However, Jan Parry has "strongly recommended" that any money generated by the library service should be ring-fenced to "ensure the city has a sustainable library service for the future."

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the Culture, Tourism and Events Select Committee on Tuesday.

Liverpool has 19 libraries, including Central Library, five of which are operated by community organisations

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