The community steering group supported by Darlington for Culture and established to devise a way to secure the future of Darlington’s library service without the need for major cutbacks submitted its plans to Darlington Borough Council towards the end of May.
The DfC-backed proposal came after the team concluded that the best way forward is to create an independent Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) to run the Crown Street and Cockerton buildings in conjunction with the community.
The plan proposes that the council continues to run the library service with professional library staff and some volunteer support where necessary. The CIO will also explore ways to save the mobile library service.
Among the plan’s proposals are ways of increasing income at both Crown Street and Cockerton Libraries.
The submission, made by Darlington for Culture on behalf of the community and based on extensive consultation, also calls for more to be done to save the threatened Bridge Centre for Visual Arts and the Openarts programme.
John Dean, Chair of Darlington for Culture, said: “Darlington council challenged the community to come up with alternative proposals to run a library service and we have met that challenge. These are imaginative proposals based on many hours of work and the contribution of many skilled people and we expect the council to take them seriously. The thousands of people who have supported this campaign right from the start deserve that from their councillors.
“The world has changed for local councils and they need to work much more closely with the community. This has to be a partnership and the proposals we have submitted offer a way in which that can happen.
“Our view is that the council now needs to agree to the extra time they promised if the community presented a credible proposal, so that the libraries steering group can work with councillors and officers to secure a bright future for our library service.”
Instead, full council rejected the proposal on June 29 to widespread community dismay.
You can see the detailed proposals here
DfC Budget Consultation Response Final

Darlington Libraries Business Case