Group meets to debate pilot library project

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A GROUP is moving forward with plans to help run a village library.

The Thurston Library Working Group has met bosses from Suffolk County Council’s library service to discuss ways in which they may collaborate to operate the facility.

The group was approached by the authority to spearhead one of 14 pilot projects to test whether community groups can run the services.

Chairman Richard Fawcett said: “We had an encouraging meeting where we shared perspectives and will, after the holiday period, discuss further possible ways forward.

“It was very worthwhile to hear more of the plans for the library service and how we might link in to them.”

Those involved in the pilots will receive funding and support to make their libraries successful and the scheme will be rolled out in stages.

Over the next two months, the council will continue to work with groups, share information and develop levels of delegation and business cases.

From October to March, the business plans will be finalised and consultations held with communities.

The pilots are due to go live in April and users will see more activities and services brought together under one roof.

Other libraries involved in the trial are Aldeburgh, Bungay, Eye, Debenham, Stradbroke, Sudbury, Wickham Market, Gainsborough, Chantry, Ipswich, Stoke, Rosehill and Westbourne.

Cllr Judy Terry, cabinet lead for the review, said: “The groups we’re working with have told us that they’re very keen to be pilot projects and help develop this new approach. The libraries involved were selected to ensure we pilot a broad range of circumstances including the size of the library, the make up of the communities they serve and possibilities for co-location of public services.”

The Thurston Library Group was initially formed to keep the village facility open and two public meetings supported their aims to respond to the council’s libraries consultation and express an interest in being involved in the library’s operation.