Groups offering to run libraries

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

Community groups are offering to run libraries that are being shelved by Lincolnshire County Council.

Libraries in Holbeach, Donington, Crowland, Market Deeping and Pinchbeck are among 32 the council is trying to palm off into private hands – leaving just 15 on the council’s own books.

The Co-op, which runs Waddington Library, is offering to run another half dozen – five in villages around Lincoln and one in Spilsby.

Coun Nick Worth, the county council’s executive member for libraries, revealed the Co-op might be open to ideas on running other libraries, although 21 “communities” have also approached the council about running their local library services.

Names of groups are “confidential in some areas”, such as Holbeach where there has been an expression of interest.

Coun Worth said: “In some areas we have had more than one group coming forward for the one library.”

He said the council is talking to the Church in Crowland on the future of its library and a meeting has been arranged with a district councillor in Pinchbeck to discuss all of the options there.

“Sutton Bridge, which is already running a volunteer library, has put an expression of interest in just to make sure they keep what they have got,” he said.

People in The Deepings have mounted a huge campaign to make sure their library in Market Deeping is retained by the county council and there’s been no expression of interest there in volunteers taking it on.

Coun Worth said: “I think the only one I haven’t heard from is Donington.”

Labour county councillor Phil Dilks is helping to spearhead the campaign to save Deepings Library.

He has accused the county council of “cultural vandalism” and described the county council’s proposals as “the biggest library closure programme the country has ever seen” in 160 years of library provision in this country.

The council aims to save £2million by shifting libraries into the hands of volunteers and companies, but Coun Dilks says that’s a trifling sum when the authority under-spent by £1million a week last year.

He also says 177 library staff will lose their jobs and the authority cannot say what the redundancy bill will be.