A library that had been under threat of closure will re-open today as the first fruit of two partnership schemes.
Fenham Library is one of 10 centres that were put at risk by budget cuts at Newcastle City Council, but it will re-open today thanks to a partnership scheme with Your Homes Newcastle.
It will be followed in the coming weeks by High Heaton, Denton Burn, Cruddas Park, which have been saved by a partnership with Newcastle College.
The libraries, along with others across the city, were originally scheduled to close as part of the council’s budget proposals, but the city council invited community groups and partners to use the buildings for their own services and still retain a library.
Newcastle College principal Carole Kitching said: “We are delighted that we have been able to work with the council to save these libraries from closure. Community groups have worked hard with us to ensure that we can offer the services that local people want.
“As a college, we are passionate about promoting literacy and a love of learning. The partnership with the city council will see the college and council library staff working side by side, to secure the future of these wonderful facilities.”
Plans have been drawn up to accommodate the needs of both organisations and while some of libraries’ floor space will reduce, it will leave sufficient space for libraries that will be staffed and remain connected to the Newcastle-wide service.
Council leader Nick Forbes said: “We’re starting to get requests from other parts of the country to look at what we are doing in partnership libraries. Library closures are happening in almost every area in the country but we’re determined to find alternative arrangement so that as many of the libraries earmarked for closure remain open for the benefit of the community.”
Originally 10 centres were put at risk of closure as part of the city council’s £100m cuts package. Blakelaw, Fawdon and Newbiggin Hall are earmarked to close in 2015.
“We’re having serious conversations around securing the future of Fawdon library,” said Coun Forbes. “We’re hopeful we can save as many libraries as possible.”
Coun David Stockdale, deputy cabinet member for culture and libraries, said: “Newcastle City Council is dealing with disproportionate government cuts to funding. But we are committed to exploring new ways of continuing our valued library services, and working in partnership with other organisations is a key element of making this happen.”