The future of library services could be under threat as the service faces severe funding cuts.
The Government has cut Hartlepool Borough Council’s main revenue grant by £30m in recent years and since 2013 the Library Service budget has had to be reduced by almost 16 per cent.
Despite this savings have been achieved without any direct impact on library opening hours or the branch library network.
But the Library Service now has to find further savings from 2016, and these cannot be achieved without reviewing the whole service, including front-line operations.
Hartlepool has five libraries – the main Central Library in York Road plus the four smaller part-time branch libraries: Headland, Owton Manor, Throston Grange and Seaton Carew.
Among the aspects being looked at in the review are opening hours, whether the branch libraries are still in the best locations to serve the needs of communities, potential for volunteers and external organisations to play an increased role, possible further development of the libraries’ online services and the potential for the libraries to generate additional income.
David Worthington, Hartlepool Borough Council’s head of culture and information, said:
“Hartlepool has an excellent library service and we want to continue to maintain that, but in the light of the massive financial pressures which the council continues to face, we need to find even better, more cost-effective ways of working.
“At the same time, we also need to make sure that our libraries remain in the best position to meet people’s future needs and their changing requirements.
“We’re keen to hear people’s thoughts on some possible ways forward and we would also welcome other suggestions, so I very much hope as many people as possible will take part in the consultation.”
People can find out more and give their views by completing a Library Review Survey online HERE.
Consultation drop-in sessions will be held at all the libraries:
• Central Library, York Road Wednesday, March 25 from 10am-noon and Saturday, March 28 from 10am-noon:
• Owton Manor Library, Wynyard Road, Thursday, March 26 from 3pm-6pm;
• Headland Library, Middlegate Friday, March 27 from 3pm-6pm;
• Seaton Carew Library, Station Lane Tuesday, March 31 from 3pm-6pm;
• Throston Grange Library, Glamorgan Grove Wednesday, April 1 from 3pm-6pm.
People can also send written comments to: The Library Review, Hartlepool Central Library, 124 York Road, Hartlepool, TS26 9DE or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date is Saturday, May 23.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 25 Feb 2015
A political leader is heading for Hartlepool after claiming the town is “the best place” to gain a regional breakthrough.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said last year that he considered Hartlepool to be “interesting” as he earmarked areas where his party could gain seats.
As the build-up to May’s General Election hots up, Mr Farage has now confirmed he will be spending two days in the town next month with a gala dinner followed by UKIP’s North East conference.
Eric Wilson, chairman of the UKIP regional branch, said:
“Obviously we are delighted that Nigel Farage has chosen Hartlepool to host the regional conference and to do a keynote speech.
“This will be a boost to Phillip Broughton’s election campaign, and will be the chance to show how much support we have built up in Hartlepool in recent years.
“We have done well here, and it is a target seat for UKIP.”
Speaking on his last visit to the region, Mr Farage told the media in Gateshead:
“We will not win where Labour has a massive majority, but we can find marginals or other seats where we can make a difference. Hartlepool is very, very interesting. Watch Hartlepool. It is an interesting seat for us in 2015.
“We have a base there, it is our longest established branch in the North-East.
“The North-East is our fastest growing membership area, and if I had to pick I’d say Hartlepool was an area where we can make a substantial impact.
“We will have to look hard after the elections at what our targets will be in 2015, but Hartlepool is very interesting to us.”
Back in 2010, UKIP took just seven per cent of the vote in Hartlepool and Iain Wright retained his seat.
But with Phillip Broughton put forward as the parliamentary candidate for May, the party are hopeful he can turn up the heat on Labour.
And Mr Farage will be hoping he can sweet-talk some of the electorate in Hartlepool early next month.
He will be at a dinner, which is being held at the Grand Hotel, on Friday, February 6.
Tickets for the event, which includes a four-course meal and entertainment, are £25 though people can shell out £99 if they want to sit with the UKIP leader.
The following day, the Borough Hall on the Headland will host a conference which will see various speakers and exhibitions between 10am-5pm.
Day passes for that event are £20.
Mr Farage added:
“It’s a Labour heartland, but you know what, we’re having a go.
“Let’s be honest. We are at a later stage in our development in the North-East, compared to, say, the East of England.
“That’s because we didn’t quite get over the line in 2009, 15.4 per cent in those elections. Let’s see where we are after these elections.”
The UKIP party’s North East webpage says more details will be released nearer to the time.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 08 Jan 2015