Dorset libraries set for transfer to community groups
Libraries in Dorset are preparing to be handed over to community groups after cuts by the county council.
Community libraries will be fully independent, but will still be supported with staff, books and IT services from the council - costing £5,500 for each library per year.
The libraries becoming independent include Chickerell, Puddletown, Wool, Charmouth, Colehill and Stalbridge. The transfer of services will take place early in the new year.
Graham Lee, chairman of the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries said: "16 months ago, eight community libraries located throughout the county were faced with the stark choice of being closed through the lack of funding or managing the libraries themselves.
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"The response of the community - which are volunteers to this challenge, has been remarkable.
"We are at last near the end of the negotiations not only to give the libraries a sound start but also a secure future."
The transfer of library services at Burton Bradstock Library and Charmouth Library were completed earlier this year.
Dorset County Council needs to save £725,000 from it's library service budget, part of large cuts taking place.
Cllr Hilary Cox, cabinet member for community services said: "I am very pleased that by working together in partnership and through careful listening and constructive negotiation, we are now looking to finalise dates for local communities to take over the responsibility for running seven libraries with support from Dorset County Council
"The county council appreciates the local leadership and hard work that has been done. This innovative approach is good for local communities, while helping us to manage our reduced budget, which we have to do.
"I would also like to thank the volunteers for coming forward. I wish them all well and look forward to seeing how they develop their local libraries."