An extensive 12-week public consultation on KCC’s plans to modernise its Libraries, Registration and Archives service by the creation of a charitable trust begins on Monday (12 January).
KCC is committed to maintaining and protecting its popular library service, but the council faces much-publicised financial challenges which have led to a review of all its services.
The trust concept is KCC’s preferred option for its libraries, as it would give the service more freedom and flexibility to grow and develop, generate additional income and seek additional grant funding not open to KCC.
There could also be greater community involvement with the service, as well as the benefits of a reduction in business rates and certain VAT exclusions.
Cllr Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet member for Community Services, said: “Our Libraries, Registration and Archive service benefits residents across Kent each year and we want to make sure this continues.
“Over the last few years we have made major capital investments of some £30million into the library service.
“We recognise how important and valuable these services are to the public. Moving to a trust model will give us the flexibility to change and improve services in the best way possible for residents.”
Under the proposals KCC would remain accountable for the Libraries, Registration and Archives service and would contract with the charitable trust to continue to provide the existing services to all Kent residents, with free access to books and ICT facilities, while also maintaining the historic archives.
However, Mr Hill stressed that no firm decision had yet been taken, and the results of the public consultation would be fully taken into account.
You will be able to register your views online at www.kent.gov.uk/libraries and a questionnaire will be contained in an explanatory booklet which will be available in county libraries from Monday.