ELDC does not support library proposals

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EAST Lindsey District Council has revealed will not support Lincolnshire County Council’s controversial proposals for the future of local libraries.

A public consulation period regarding the changes closed last Monday with the county council backing plans for sweeping changes.

If the proposals are accepted, several libraries could close while open hours would be slashed at others.

However, ELDC say they have concerns about the impact the cuts could make, particularly ibn rural communities.

ELDC’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, Councillor Sandra Harrison, said: “While we understand the situation the County Council is in financially due to the ongoing reductions in funding for local services, we have not been persuaded that innovative solutions have been fully explored or debated which could provide an ongoing library service through different means.

“ELDC therefore continues to have concerns about the plans for the future of the library service in East Lindsey and the impact that the proposed changes could have some of the District’s more rural communities.

“Due to the sheer size of the district, at over 700 square miles, and the fact that many of its communities are very isolated, the council feels that the static or mobile library is, for some, a lifeline to the outside world and a chance to access a service that otherwise would be inaccessible to them.

“The Council also feels that while a 30 minute travel period highlighted in the proposals to a ‘hub/static’ library may be suitable for the more urban areas of Lincolnshire, the public transport network in East Lindsey does not serve all communities or serve them regularly enough for this to be a useful measure.

“Libraries are at the heart of many of rural communities in East Lindsey and offer much more than just loaning of books.

“They also provide a meeting place for local people and a critical access point to information which the council feels that if removed, would have a detrimental effect on residents in not allowing them to access information which in turn allows them to access other critical benefits and services.”

Coun Harrison went on to say that ELDC had concerns over county council proposals to offer financial help to volunteers to run libraries.

She added: “The Council is keen to understand what alternative provision has been considered, such as locating services in schools, village halls, pubs or other local facilities, to add benefit to these and to find innovative solutions for residents but feels that the proposed financial incentive offered to community groups to take on the running of local libraries is currently inadequate.

“The Council also has concerns that the proposed library stock of 4,000 books is not great enough to ensure a wider breadth of material is always available.”