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17 - Exciting times for library mutual

Plans to introduce more innovative ways of working in libraries and archives have moved a step closer after a staff-led working arrangement was given the formal green light.

The Dudley Council-run library service and Archives and Local History Centre will enter into a staff mutual in the spring.

The mutual will give the services greater freedom to introduce new ways to generate income, which it will be able to reinvest into the services to train staff, update facilities and expand the range of services available.

At the Archives and Local History Centre, it will also look at ways to maximise the exhibition space and create more events for the public to enjoy.

Through its innovative approach, the mutual will be expected to make financial savings across the board without impacting on day-to-day services.

As part of the mutual, all council staff will be transferred over to the organisation. The council is now carrying out the formal legal work before the final process is complete.

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of the council, said:

“We value our libraries and archives service in the borough and especially our staff who have worked hard to deliver some of the best library services in the country.  And unlike other authorities that are choosing to close their libraries, we are going down the route of mutualising our services to protect them long term.

“The mutual offers an exciting opportunity to do things differently and I am confident it will achieve the best outcomes for our libraries and archives service users.”

Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member responsible for libraries, said:

“We have a library and archives service to be proud of.  The move to create a mutual is about giving the services greater flexibility to develop and expand the range of services that are available, which will ultimately benefit the people who use our services and will hopefully encourage even more people to come through the doors.”

Following a competitive process, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has been chosen as the preferred partner to bring their expertise to Dudley libraries and archives and run our mutual over the next five years.

GLL is a charitable social enterprise which is committed to working on behalf of the whole community.  As an employee led mutual it involves staff in decisions about its services.  It has been running leisure and library services since 1993 and currently manages libraries in Wandsworth and Lincolnshire as well as Greenwich Council’s library services. 



Notes to editors

GLL is the first leisure operator in the UK to be awarded both the Social Enterprise Mark and the Prime Minister’s Big Society award.