Day-to-day running of Harris library looks set to come under control of Preston City Council
The day-to-day running of the library at the Harris looks set to come under the control of Preston City Council (PCC).
A transferal of the service from Lancashire County Council (LCC) already has the green light from the county authority.
And councillors at Preston are due to vote on the proposals at a meeting at Town Hall tomorrow.
Documents outlining plans state: “The shared service approach to the library management at the Harris was identified as part of the Re-imagining ambition, to deliver an integrated and excellent public service and revitalising the original vision of the founders.
“This shared service approach underpins the capital project, ensuring the implementation of a ‘blended’ library, museum and art gallery.
“This will position the Harris as a modern and innovative community-focused venue, ensuring vital cultural provision for the people of Preston.
“It is anticipated that the creation of a single team and the shared service approach will both improve the visitor experience and result in efficiencies and ongoing revenue savings.
“A shared service Board of senior officers from both LCC and PCC will oversee this collaborative arrangement to ensure the effective long-term delivery of this shared service approach.”
It comes on the back of the £10.7m Re-imagining the Harris project to see the iconic venue transformed into a “blended” museum, art gallery and library.
The Harris is hoping to apply for a £4.7m grant from the National Lottery Fund next year, to contribute towards the overall £10.7m cost of the “re-imagining” scheme. In January, a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £180,000 was awarded to help support the main bid.
LCC occupies about 40 per cent of the Harris building to house the library. The existing relationship between PCC and LCC is governed by an agreement, signed in 1997, “for the use and occupation of the Harris building”.
Under the new proposed agreement LCC will pay PCC an annual sum to cover the cost of providing the library service, which will be inflated in line with the pay award each year.
The county council will also continue to pay 40 per cent of building-related costs which includes front of house staff and premises running costs. The estimated LCC annual revenue contributions are about £265k to provide the library service and about £335k towards building related costs.
All ten library assistants and the library branch manager at the Harris have the right for their contracts of employment to be transferred with the service from LCC to PCC.
Those behind the proposals are keen to stress that there will be no change in terms of the quality of service provision to the public.
Documents state: “The essence of the delegation is that PCC will take over the day to day management of the library service as the function would be delegated from LCC to PCC within a framework to ensure consistency with LCC’s remaining county-wide library service.
“However PCC will have autonomy with regards to delivering services.”