Torbay Libraries are entering into an exciting new chapter as Devon-based charity Libraries Unlimited takes to the helm to run all four libraries on behalf of Torbay Council.
As of April 2018, Libraries Unlimited is responsible for running the libraries in Torquay, Brixham, Paignton and Churston through a five-year contract with the Council.
Torbay Council and Libraries Unlimited have been working closely together over the past few months in the run up to the handover, and library staff from across Torbay became employees of the charity from 1st April. The charity has confirmed that all four libraries across the Bay will remain open with the same opening hours and will be professionally staffed.
Libraries Unlimited were appointed as the preferred provider late in 2017, due to their experience of successfully running Devon Libraries on behalf of Devon County Council over the past two-years, and their national reputation for innovation. They will be bringing their community focused services, digital inclusion, health and wellbeing offering to Torbay Libraries, as well as offering access to a wealth of information and resources.
Libraries Unlimited is one of four library charities across England, having been formed following a spin out from the county council, becoming an independent organisation in April 2016 following extensive public consultation in Devon. The decision to become a public sector mutual was agreed to be the best option in order to secure the county’s libraries.
Libraries Unlimited will work closely with Torbay Council to ensure all existing services continue to operate smoothly over the next five years. Over time, the charity aims to implement a more integrated library service that will offer extended services and resources, for both Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries users.
Libraries Unlimited is committed to making financial savings and ensuring the sustainability of the service. The charity will need to make savings of £800,000 over the duration of the contract, as well as securing additional sources of income and ensuring the libraries are operating as efficiently as possible.