Shropshire Council’s libraries strategy has been approved at cabinet, meaning Ellesmere and Gobowen libraries will have more time to become fully self-funded.

The strategy was due to go in front of the cabinet at the end of last year but was postponed until last week.

After a public consultation – which saw Shropshire Council receive more than 700 responses – it was decided libraries that were set to become fully-funded needed more time.

The strategy sees a three-tier system which incorporates the 21 libraries across Shropshire. 

Oswestry is in the top tier, which means it will be funded and staffed by Shropshire Council and used as a multi-functional space.

Ellesmere Library is in tier two, so it will be staffed by volunteers with support from professional librarian services, and Gobowen Library is in tier three, meaning flexible opening hours and run by volunteers.

Originally the strategy stated funding to tier two libraries would be tapered over three years until they became self-funded, and those in tier three had only one year to become self-funded.

However, the public consultation has enforced a change in the amount of time the two-tier libraries will have to become self-funded, with tier two increasing to five years and tier three increasing to three.

The strategy has now been approved, and Shropshire Council has recommended responsibility be delegated between the director of place and enterprise George Candler, in consultation with the portfolio holder for culture and leisure Lezley Picton and a broad range of interested parties to co-develop, implement and review a detailed-five year action plan.

Usage of library service provision will be monitored and kept under review, and on-going efforts will be made to encourage participation by users and non-users, says the council.