Rallying call to be part of library’s future

The call has gone out to save Caistor Library now or risk losing it forever
The call has gone out to save Caistor Library now or risk losing it forever

An urgent appeal has gone out to the residents of Caistor to stand up for their library now or risk losing it as council cuts come into force.

The call comes from the town’s library volunteers and Arts and Heritage Centre (CAHC) management, who are preparing a business plan in the hope of taking over the service when the well publicised cuts come into force next year.

The library has been a fundamental part of the centre’s success and is currently open seven days a week.

But centre manager Stephanie Dale says the level of county council funding it will attract after March 2015 means it is unsustainable in its present form.

“The centre wasn’t designed as a library; it was designed to be a hub for arts and heritage, but the board was happy to accommodate it when the old one closed down,” said Ms Dale.

“The centre is still happy to continue the relationship, but it cannot underwrite the library.

“It must stand alone and that was why the working group was set up.”

Drawn from volunteers already working in the library, the group is being guided and supported by the CAHC, but the task it faces is a big one.

At present, volunteers provide 54 hours cover per week, with the county council also providing professional librarians for 26 hours per week.

In May, those professional hours will be cut to just 10 and next year they will be gone all together and at the same time, annual funding to Caistor will be cut to £5,167.

“That is simply unsustainable without some drastic changes,” added Ms Dale.

“So unless another solution can be found, the library will have to close.

“We know how much people value their library; if it is to continue we need those same people to come forward to help with the transition period and man the desks in the future.

“The next few months will be challenging, but if people rally behind us, it could have a very bright future.”