KNUTSFORD and Holmes Chapel libraries could be transformed into ‘community hubs’ under moves to broaden the role of Cheshire East’s libraries.

The council said it is committed to keeping open all of its 16 libraries and to widening their appeal to communities.

The pledge comes despite budgetary pressures, which have resulted in major cost savings.

“As a council, we recognise the valuable role our libraries play in their communities, and are committed to retaining libraries in the 16 towns they are in today,” said councillor David Brown.

“However, we think we can make the service better at serving the needs of our communities – and give greater value for money.

“If libraries are to represent value for money to all residents, they must become more relevant to a wide section of the community. Our challenge is balancing the expectations of our traditional library users with the diverse needs and expectations of residents who visit our libraries to seek help with finding a job, get information on benefits, develop digital skills or take part in community activities.”

He said the council’s ambition was to broaden the role of its libraries and develop community hubs that appealed to a wider audience, bucking the trend of declining library usage. The council’s three-year plan established a project to develop a new model for sustainable library services and community hubs.

Last week’s cabinet meeting was recommended to endorse the council’s sustainable library strategy.