A proposal to keep all Bristol libraries open will be taken to Bristol City Council’s Cabinet next week.
The report to Cabinet recommends that all of Bristol’s 27 libraries are retained, while future options for community led facilities are explored.
If agreed, this would mean that the savings targets previously set for the library services would be removed to allow other options to be investigated.
Any shortfall in 2018/19 would be funded by the Mayor’s consultation reserves, while further years will be reviewed in line with the current budget process.
Under these proposals current opening hours and arrangements would stay the same, with a further paper coming to Cabinet in October to outline how the council aims to trial new approaches and work with the community moving forward.
This would ensure the full service remains in place while a community led offer is explored. It is hoped that this approach would enable communities to fully consider an offer that would help support a future sustainable library service for Bristol.
Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “We have listened to the results of the consultation and other public forums and we understand the concerns people have about losing their much loved library service.
“We have continued to hold meetings and discussions with members of the public and as a result the recommendation to Cabinet is to keep all our libraries open to give us more time to explore community led options.
“We all know that the service needs to modernise and that it is likely to look very different in 10 years’ time, but we need to consider that change carefully and in line with the pace of community support and action.
“My administration is working hard in the background to put the council’s finances back on a sound footing and give communities the space to make this possible.
“This is an opportunity for communities to come forward and help trial new ways of delivering library services for all the citizens of Bristol and we need everyone to come forward to make sure we continue to build a library service we can all be proud of.”
Under these proposals, all permanent staff will remain in their existing roles. The library service will also be considering how to begin recruitment to current vacancies that have been covered by temporary appointments whilst the review was undertaken.