Threat of closure for local libraries

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Libraries across the area could come under threat of closure in a bid to save 
Lincolnshire County Council £2 million.

The authority is set to launch a consultation next month for its proposed plans to reduce library services.

Initial proposals are to reduce the 47 ‘static’ council-staffed libraries to 15.

One of those libraries to be maintained is Market Rasen, but plans are to reduce its hours of opening from 28 per week to 25.

However, Caistor will lose all its council staffed hours, currently 16.

There are also vast cuts proposed for Welton, Wragby and Keelby, converting to a mobile service, along with Caistor, of six to eight hours over a four-week period for each.

Executive member for libraries Coun Nick Worth 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.”

The drop in use has been blamed on new technology - like smart phones, Kindles - changing the way we view things.

Coun Worth said: “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.”

Caistor Library, housed within the town’s Arts and Heritage Centre, currently operates for an additional 38 hours, allowing it to open seven days a week.

And it is this form of community involvement that could be looked at in other areas.

Coun Worth said: “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 communities.

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

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

Prior to this, the matter will be debated by Lincolnshire County Council’s communities and public safety scrutiny committee tonight, Wednesday, June 26.

And if the consultation goes ahead, this will begin next month.

To see the full details visit lincolnshire.gov.uk/librariesconsultation.