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Another library service bites the dust

The school library service in Bristol is to be shut.

It is the latest in an accelerating trend of councils shutting their library services as local authority funding cuts bite.

Bristol will relaunch an advisory service after neighbouring authorities stepped in to take over the loans of books and artefacts to schools.

Discussions are still ongoing about what will happen to the stock and the council insists there will not be any redundancies.

School library services are not statutory and are funded by subscriptions from schools.

A TES survey last year found 87 authorities ran services which covered schools in 118 of the 149 authorities that responded.

A spokeswoman for Bristol City Council said: "Changes are being introduced as take-up of loan services was low. The service had not been operating on cost recovery and had been subsidised by the library service budget.

"Extensive consultation with schools that use the service, and non-users, highlighted an advisory and training service as being of most value to schools."

Tricia Adams, director of the School Libraries Association, said: "I think this is a very creative solution. Advice and support are valuable for schools." The change takes effect on 1 April.

Since April 2010, Cambridgeshire, Solihull, Kent and Birmingham councils have closed their school library services. Sutton has said its service will close next month.

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