Plans to transfer running of Herts libraries still on track for April 1

Plans to transfer the running of Hertforshire libraries to a public service mutual are on track for April 1, it has been confirmed.

Libraries for Life had initially been expected to take over the running of the county’s libraries on December 1 last year (2019).

Hertfordshire County Council offices

Hertfordshire County Council offices

But the transfer was delayed until April, amid concerns that neither organisation was ready and that there were “several significant risks” for both parties, had it gone ahead.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council on Tuesday (February 25), executive member for education, libraries and localism, Cllr Terry Douris confirmed that the process was on track.

In response to a question from Labour group leader Cllr Judi Billing, he said that the delay had been for very good reasons.

He said there had been some ‘outstanding issues’ that we needed to be cleared for the benefit of library staff and customers.

And he said the council was on schedule to transfer the running of the libraries on April 1.

He stressed that Libraries for Life was a public service mutual that was created by people who work in the council’s library service.

And he said that going forward it was going to be a ‘very exciting time’ and that there would be some ‘fantastic opportunities’ in the libraries.

It has been estimated that ‘Libraries for Life’ – which has charitable status – could cut the cost of the library service by an estimated £500,000 a year.

Earlier this month (February 5) a meeting of the county council’s education, libraries and localism cabinet panel heard that the delay had ‘cost’ the council £179,000 in expected savings for 2019/20.