Herefordshire Council, in partnership with two other local services, have come together to ensure the continued operation of Belmont Library at the existing opening hours and level of service.
Along with other libraries in the county the centre at Belmont was at risk of reduced hours as a result of the budget challenges faced by Herefordshire Council. However, with a contribution from Belmont Rural Parish Council and a reduced rent for South Wye Community Association the current level of service can remain for the next year. Along with the support from these two partners, and continued investment from the council this makes Belmont a “partnership library”.
Andy Myatt from South Wye Community Association said “the library is an important part of the life of the local community and we wanted to do all we could to keep it going at its current level”.
Cllr Harry Bramer, Cabinet member for contracts and assets, said “we very much welcome this partnership approach to support services that are valued by local communities”.
Along with Belmont, three community libraries have been established in Weobley, Colwall and Leintwardine where the local residents fund and operate the libraries with support from the central library service. In January, the council endorsed the continuation of libraries and customer service centres across the county but recognises that budget constraints and changing trends to access services means a different approach is needed.
The collaboration with a range of groups and local councils means that libraries are seeing a new lease of life. The partnership for Belmont runs until March 2015 when further arrangements will be explored.