Bradford Council has diverted £700,000 from its health and wellbeing budget to offset cuts to its library service.
The decision, subject to ratification early next month, would allay the fears of staff who went on strike last year and constitute an official endorsement of the wellbeing benefits of libraries.
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Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said the council's focus “has to be on preventing ill-health in the first place, not dealing with it after the fact. And libraries have a big part to play in that.”
Bradford Council did not consult experts in making its decision. However, the link between libraries and wellbeing was investigated in a 2015 report by Arts Council England. The funder aims to make libraries more central to culture as part of its new 10-year strategy.