A LOCAL trust is taking over the upkeep of Upton-upon-Severn library in a bid to reduce council spending.
A lease was announced on Saturday which transfers the responsibility to maintain, develop and manage the building, to Upton Villages Together.
It is hoped the plans will lead to “considerable savings” for the council and enable the library to expand its services.
Upton Villages Together signed a lease with Worcestershire County Council to look after “bricks and mortar” of the library. The council will still provide normal library services.
Chris Mair, Chair of Upton Villages Together, said: “Today is the formal announcement of the lease being signed and us taking over the responsibility of the building.
“The idea of the trust is to preserve and protect the building as the county council is under financial pressure.
“The library runs four days per week. I want the trust to find ways that the library can be used by community groups outside those hours, in the evenings and weekends.”
The trust will be able to receive income from the events held in the library.
As the trust has a charitable status, Mr Mair said some of the overheads – such as rates – were dramatically reduced.
The trust will be funded by Hanley Castle, Hanley Swan, Ripple and Upton parish councils.
“By us taking this over it means we can help protect the library from the pressures that cause the county council to cut costs,” he said.
“It’s a positive move for the community in and around Upton.”
Roger Sutton, Leader of the Independent Alliance Group, said: “The pressures on local government in the last few years have made life more and more difficult.
“This transfer benefits the council financially because of the burden of running the building. It’s helping the county council to balance the books.”
Lucy Hodgson, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities, said Upton was a positive example of communities adapting to local government cuts.
“Upton is a library where the community has come forward to take on the building. Without a community solution they might have lost their library,” she said.
Ms Hodgson said the council has found ways to keep libraries open and emphasised that the 21 libraries in Worcestershire have all remained open.
The council has saved £2m through attracting occupiers to libraries across Worcestershire, according to Ms Hodgson.
Carol Brown, Worcestershire County Council Service Improvement Manager of Libraries, said: “The benefits of this are enormous. A considerable amount is being saved.”
Ms Brown said the library premise cost the council approximately £12,000 per year.
The solution enabled the council to to deliver savings whilst keeping the library open to the community, according to Ms Brown.
Ms Brown said Upton was an example of the community and the council working together to deliver the savings that the library service faces.