New chapter for libraries

Library services in Suffolk can look forward to 'bigger and better things' say campaigners.

As a new chapter begins next Wednesday, with all of Suffolk's 44 libraries transferring to an industrial and provident society (IPS), a celebratory event was held in Bungay yesterday to mark the occasion.

Earlier this year, Bungay library became one of the first libraries in Suffolk to be run by the IPS, which was set up by the county council to oversee all of the county's library services.

There had been fears that the library would close when the council announced plans to cut costs in early 2011, and the Save Bungay Library group was formed.

Yesterday, there was a sense of pride at the official hand over – with one of the main campaigners, Sylvia Knights, who is now a member of the IPS board, admitting it was 'a very exciting day' for the town.

Mrs Knights said: 'In 2011 the county council first launched their consultation and Bungay was one of the many across the county that was potentially under threat.

'There was a major campaign and it led to Bungay becoming one of the pilot IPS libraries. The library in Bungay is at the hub of the community, and now it will simply grow under the whole ethos of the IPS.'

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All libraries and the mobile, school and prison library services will come under the direct control of the IPS – a first in the country – from next week, and they will work in partnership with local library groups to support and expand the service. Shona Bendix, Suffolk's Libraries IPS chairman, said: 'Suffolk's Libraries IPS has a very strong and very clear aim – to do what's best for the future of the service.

'This point has been a long time coming but I firmly believe that the IPS has found a way to take Suffolk's library service forward to bigger and better things.'

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