Volunteers in talks to run doomed library

Volunteers Davis Kennerley, Jill Carr and Paul Bywater, who are hoping to keep Crowland library open. Photo: SG300913-114NG
Volunteers Davis Kennerley, Jill Carr and Paul Bywater, who are hoping to keep Crowland library open. Photo: SG300913-114NG
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Volunteers hoping to take on Crowland’s threatened library have been getting an insight into how it is run.

Members of Crowland Community Library Steering Group were given a tour of the facilities on Thursday by Graham Searle – a Crowland Cares volunteer who helps run the library at present.

The steering group has been confident there could be a happy ending to the library’s fortunes after 86 people turned up for an open meeting at the Crown Inn.

Since then the group has been busy compiling its expression of interest in time for today’s (Tuesday’s) deadline.

Lincolnshire County Council plans to slash the number of libraries it runs from 47 to 15 – meaning facilities could close and jobs will be lost unless volunteers can be found to take them over.

Paul Bywater, steering committee volunteer, said: “We are all quite passionate in the belief library provides an important facility for the town.

“Of course, we wouldn’t be doing it if the library wasn’t closing and we sympathise with those who are going to lose their jobs through this.

“But the town has lost a number of amenities and we don’t want to see another go.”

The seven-strong committee will have two meetings with the county council and get a decision on Tuesday, December 3.

If successful, they will have until March next year to submit an outline business case.

Concerns about the cost of repairs to the roof and tarmac in the car park, as well as a new boiler and tank have been alleviated by the county council who have said they will pay for them.

Volunteers will lease the building on a peppercorn rent but receive £5,167 for running costs. They will also be able to apply for a county grant.

The library would still receive up-to-date books and have use of the computers now used by the public.

Mr Bywater said: “The library is already used by a number of groups in the town – as well as the Crowland Cares voluntary car scheme.

“In the future we would like to see even more groups use it and once we know if we have been successful we will be inviting ideas from the community.

”We will also be looking at becoming a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) and ways of raising funds towards the running costs.

“With such a good turn-out at the open meeting we believe we will be able to save the library and submit acceptable proposals for how it will be run to the county council.”