Consultation on libraries cuts will go ahead

County Offices, Lincoln
County Offices, Lincoln
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A public consultation on controversial plans to reduce library services is to go ahead.

Lincolnshire County Council executive decided to push ahead with the consultation, despite fierce opposition, at its meeting earlier this week.

The consultation will ask members of the public to have their say on county council plans to save up to £2million by slashing its council-run libraries from 47 to 15.

Spalding library is one of ten “Tier 1” libraries that will be kept by the council and remain open up to 50 hours a week.

Libraries in Crowland and Long Sutton are also safe in “Tier 2”, and should remain open at least 25 hours a week.

The council will also continue to provide a range of online services such as e-books and audio books.

At the same time,local communities are being given the opportunity to take over their local library or create their own, with professional support from the council.

Coun Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: “The way in which libraries are used is changing. In Lincolnshire, 82 per cent of the population are not active borrowers and book stock issued in the county in the last ten years has dropped from five million to under three million.

“Our vision for the future of the service is a comprehensive one, but one that remains both affordable and efficient.

“Despite the need for change, our ambition is to keep all of Lincolnshire’s libraries open.

“However, this is only going to work with the support of local communities.

“We will support residents and organisations that step forward and lend a hand.

“And, by getting them more involved, we think we can actually create a library service that’s better tailored to each community’s individual needs.

“A consultation will help us gauge whether that appetite is there.”

The council will also continue to provide up to 126 mobile library stops.

Those that are discontinued will be replaced by a home library service for those unable to visit the nearest alternative because of disability, age, ill health or caring responsibilities.

For further details on the proposals and to take part in the consultation, go to www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/librariesconsultation, call 01522 782010 or pick up a copy of the questionnaire in any library.

The consultation runs until Monday, September 30.