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Suffolk: County prepares to hand over its libraries

PUBLISHED: 18:16 20 July 2012

Southwold Library

Southwold Library

Archant © 2011

THE formal handover of the county’s libraries to the new management body was marked by a ceremony in Bungay.

The Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) which will take over the management of the 44 libraries in Suffolk formally takes over their management on August 1.

It will also take responsibility for employing all paid library staff – who will also make the transition with the service.

While in other parts of the country there have been library closure, in Suffolk all libraries have been saved and paid staff are not being replaced with volunteers.

Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: “The future of all of Suffolk’s libraries is secure. That is something I am immensely proud and pleased to be able to say.

“We’ve seen councils elsewhere in the UK forced to close libraries or reduced opening hours in order to balance the books. The Suffolk model is the complete opposite.

“This week is a key milestone in our determined work to give Suffolk’s library service a sound foundation for future growth.”

The IPS board has been working since January to take over the service (which will still be funded by the county council) and develop a financially and operationally sustainable model for the future.

Shona Bendix, Suffolk’s Libraries IPS’ chair, said: “The IPS has a very strong and very clear aim - to do what’s best for the future of the service.

“This fundamental principle is what’s driving all of us to do what we can to make sure our much-loved libraries are able to flourish and continue to be well-used for decades to come.

“This point has been a long time coming but I firmly believe that the IPS has found a way to take Suffolk’s library service forward to bigger and better things.”

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