Friends of Deepings Library to lobby councillors for change

Protest outside Deepings Library.
Protest outside Deepings Library.
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A group of volunteers hope to convince councillors to include their library when the whole of Lincolnshire’s service goes out to tender.

Lincolnshire County Council officers have asked councillors to approve £2m of cuts to its library service.

Should the cuts go ahead, 30 libraries classed as tier 3, including Deepings Library, would have their funding withdrawn. The council wants volunteer groups to run them instead.

It also wants to put the rest of the service - libraries classed as tier 1 and 2 - out to tender.

Deepings Library in High Street, Market Deeping, is among those set to lose its funding. A group called the Friends of Deepings Library, or FoDL, was set up under protest to find a way to run the library should the cuts go ahead.

Members are now focusing on a meeting of the council’s community and public safety scrutiny committee on Tuesday. They hope to convince councillors to include tier 3 libraries, including Deepings Library, in the list sent to tender. A final decision will be made by the council’s executive on February 3.

FoDL chairman Liz Waterland said: “At the moment we are urging everyone who believes we should be maintained as a professionally-run library to contact their county councillors and MPs and to say that what we would like to see happen is for the procurement process to include the whole library service.”

“I can’t see the slightest logic or reason in asking the tender document to go out specifically excluding the tier 3 libraries from being run by an organisation that might take them over if they can run it within the required budget.”

The council’s joint assistant director of public health Tony McGinty said: “The council must decide what service is to be provided and the maximum amount it can afford to spend on that service.

“It cannot allow a commercial organisation to look at the budget and decide what to provide for that budget, nor can it put out to commercial organisations a description of a service that it does not believe can be provided within the budget.”

An open day organised by FoDL will be held at Deepings Library on February 7. The group hopes to beat the record for number of sign-ups to the library service in one day.