Libraries in Louth and Mablethorpe ‘safe’ despite threats of closure from Lincolnshire County Council

Louth's Library in Northgate.
Louth's Library in Northgate.
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Libraries in Lincolnshire could come under threat of closure in a bid to save Lincolnshire County Council £2 million, but those in Louth and Mablethorpe look to be safe.

The county council has today released plans to cut the number of ‘static libraries’ under its control in the county from 47 to 15.

Ten ‘tier one’ libraries would be located in towns including Louth and Mablethorpe, which would be safe and open for ‘up to 50 hours per week’.

LCC said it wants to keep more libraries open by encouraging rural communities to take over some services, similar to the model used in Sutton on Sea where extra volunteer hours have allowed the library to be open for more days each week.

According to figures, the number of users at Louth Library dropped from 6,139 to 5,508 from 2011/12 to 2012/13 and Mablethorpe’s Library dropped from 3,395 to 2,972.

“The council has a statutory obligation to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use of it,” the document read.

“The council must, however, provide this service in a financial context of severe austerity and falling council resources.”

A full consultation on the proposals is likely to take place from early July until the end of September.

Alternatives include no closures of libraries, leading to an ‘inefficient’ system or not to consult at all on the plans.

“Despite the need for change, the council’s ambition is to keep all of Lincolnshire’s libraries open,” said a statement.

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

Excutive member for libraries Nick Worth (Con) said: “The way in which libraries are used is changing, not just in Lincolnshire, but across the country. In Lincolnshire, 82 per cent of the population are not active borrowers, and book stock issued in the county in the last 10 years has dropped from five million to under three million.

“Smart phones, tablets, Kindles and new technology are changing the way we do things. The library service is changing, like it or not, and 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 our local communit

“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.

“Successful changes have already taken place at a number of libraries, such as Saxilby and Waddington, improving services and getting better value for money. There’s no reason why this won’t work elsewhere – providing that’s what local people want.

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

The proposal will be discussed by the council’s executive members on Tuesday July 2.

Prior to this, the matter will be debated by the Communities and Public Safety Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday June 26.

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