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Suffolk Libraries' statement following Suffolk County Council’s budget decision

On Thursday 9 February Suffolk County Council approved its budget for 2017-18 which includes a £200,000 reduction in the funding which Suffolk Libraries receives.

Tony Brown, Chair of Suffolk Libraries Board, said: "In November 2016, Suffolk Libraries informed staff, customers and our community groups of the county council’s budget proposals for 2017/18 which at the time included a further reduction in the library service budget of £230,000.

"Negotiations and discussions between Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Libraries have been continuing over the past year. Though less than originally proposed, we have reluctantly agreed to accept the £200,000 reduction for 2017/18. In our discussions with the council we have made it clear that we have reached a point at which we cannot make further efficiency savings so a reduction of this level is going to be challenging.

"We understand the difficult position the county council is in and have had assurances from them about their long-term support for the county’s library service and their appreciation for the achievements of everyone involved in making Suffolk Libraries a success. We look forward to a good working relationship with them going forwards.

"We have received a great deal of support from people over the past few months and this is very much appreciated."

Alison Wheeler, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries, added: "Now the final decision has been made we will be reviewing how best to run the library service for less money next year and creating a sustainable future for the county’s library service.

"We feel that Suffolk Libraries has built up a good reputation with the county council, our staff, customers and the community and we will carry out any changes in an inclusive and considered way, and will listen to the views of the people affected.

"We will be doing everything we can to minimise any reduction in jobs and impact on library services. At this stage, this reduction will not result in the closure of any library or stopping the mobile library service."