Wales

Powys libraries under threat of closure in review

Generic library Image copyright PA
Image caption Many of the libraries concerned were relocated under a previous review in 2016

Ten libraries in Powys are under threat of closure as council leaders look to save £200,000.

Volunteers, communities, charities and town councils are being urged to step in and take them over.

The library in Hay-on-Wye, famous for its book festivals, is in the firing line once again.

Many of the libraries moved into shared premises after a previous review, but Powys County Council said they needed to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Gareth Ratcliffe, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Hay, suggested the county's larger libraries could bear the brunt of cuts, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

He told a full council meeting the cut amounted to one-sixth of the libraries budget of £1.2m, asking: "Have the bigger ones been asked to make savings?"

In reply, Rachel Powell, the cabinet member for culture, said the council had previously worked with communities to save libraries by co-locating them in other premises.

She added: "We have to be smart as we move forward with sustainable methods.

"Currently the focus will be on the 10 smaller branches and how we can support them to be as self-sufficient as possible."

Powys libraries under review

  • Hay-on-Wye
  • Talgarth
  • Llanfair Caereinion
  • Llanfyllin
  • Knighton
  • Presteigne
  • Llanwrtyd Wells
  • Builth Wells
  • Llanidloes
  • Rhayader

Organisers of the Hay Festival stepped in with an offer of funding to prevent an earlier bid to close the town's library in 2016.

In Llanfair Caereinion, where the library is once again under threat, the town council said since it stepped in to meet the running costs, the cost to the county council was "nominal".

Ms Powell will hold drop-in sessions at the libraries in question next week in the hope that new ideas and solutions would emerge to keep them open.

The review of the future of the libraries runs until the end of April.

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