New chapter for borough's libraries
Published: Wednesday 27th March 13
A charitable social enterprise is poised to begin running the borough's libraries as part of an innovative plan to enhance and safeguard the service.
From Tuesday, April 2, Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) will take over the management of Wandsworth's library and heritage service in a move that is expected to save the council in excess of £750,000 per year compared to current running costs.
The change in management, which comes at a time when the council must make £100m in savings over five years, will also ensure the service continues to evolve and keep pace with fast changing needs and demands from the public.
Library users should be aware that all of the borough's libraries will be closed over the Easter weekend (March 29 to April 1) while GLL installs new IT equipment for public use - which will also allow users to enjoy increased internet speeds in the coming weeks.
As well as opening the door to new service improvements, the new management contract requires GLL to maintain the current quality of service.
Core library services will remain free of charge to users, while library buildings will remain in the ownership of the local authority.
In addition, permanently-contracted members of staff currently working for Wandsworth's library and heritage service will transfer to GLL, taking all their knowledge and experience with them.
Wandsworth's culture spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said: "By bringing in outside expertise, we are making sure our taxpayers continue to receive the best value and best service possible at a time when other councils are cutting back their library service or even considering closures.
"For the past 35 years we have been successfully working with the private sector to deliver important and popular services and I am confident this latest partnership marks the start of an exciting new chapter for our much-loved library and heritage service."