Posted by: bluesyemre | July 10, 2018

Anonymous graffiti star #Banksy has volunteered to lend a hand in keeping Bristol’s 27 #libraries open

Banksy

One of the world’s most prominent artists has offered to help support Bristol’s library service.

Anonymous graffiti star Banksy has volunteered to lend a hand in keeping Bristol’s 27 libraries open, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has revealed.

It is unclear what form this support will come – although the use of the term ‘philanthropist’ suggests it could be financial.

The bombshell came at Bristol City Council’s cabinet meeting tonight (Tuesday, July 3), where Deputy Mayor for Communities, Asher Craig, announced a reprieve on sweeping cuts which would see 17 libraries close.

The shock announcement was prompted by a public forum question in which Lloyd Roberts asked if there was any truth to “rumours that a philanthropist had stepped forward to help libraries in Bristol”.

After a loaded glance between the Mayor and Ms Craig, Mr Rees confirmed the speculation but warned “you have to be careful with rumours”.

“It’s just that a very well known person from Bristol wrote in and asked us the nature of the challenge and to outline what support we need as a city to meet that challenge and that person was Banksy,” he said.

“He has come forward and talked about supporting us and we will see how that plays itself out.

“There is nothing signed and delivered and so far it is just a conversation that we had.”

Ms Craig added that other prominent people had come forward to offer financial support to the library service.

“Banksy is one of a couple of outside persons of interest and they may be investments in community parts not investing in the coffers of the council,” she said.

The council is currently talking with community groups, library users, staff and experts to figure out how to develop a “relevant, modernised and sustainable” library service .

Ms Craig revealed community groups had come forward with offers to run 16 of the 17 libraries under threat in the city and said she “trusts” communities to “come up with solutions which work for them”.

“To make it clear, all 27 libraries will remain open as they are now with a lot of community conversations getting going,” she said.

Librarian

The Deputy Mayor’s report was met with a round of applause from the cabinet and a word of thanks from the Mayor.

Many other councillors and members of the public welcomed the pause in cuts, but warned of the need for input from library staff before any reforms are pushed through.

Mr Rees declared he was slashing £1.4million from the libraries budget last year in an attempt to claw back the council’s £108million deficit by 2023.

A public consultation revealed the council planned to have one large and two smaller satellite libraries in the south, east and north west areas of Bristol, alongside keeping Central Library off College Green open.

People were asked to choose between three lists of libraries they wanted to keep and three they wouldn’t mind seeing close. The consultation was met with fierce opposition from campaign groups who accused the council of pitting communities against each other.

In November three public petitions with more than 12,000 signatures between them were presented to the council, and many library users gave impassioned speeches about the vital role the facilities play in their local communities.

In the same month Mr Rees offered the service a stay of execution and revealed the council had been awarded a central government grant to explore the possibility of launching trusts to manage individual libraries and moving services in to shared community buildings such as health centres.

At the end of June the Labour Mayor announced a U-turn on the library cuts and said all of the city’s service will remain open until after the next mayoral election in 2020.

Mr Rees has said the service needs to be modernised to be sustainable and wants to work with community group to create a new approach.

A detailed paper about the options for the future of the city’s libraries will be brought to cabinet in October.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/banksy-offers-bankroll-bristols-libraries-1744914

http://www.banksy.co.uk/


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