New plans for under-threat libraries set to be revealed

Deepings Library, High Street, Market Deeping. File picture.'Photo: MSMP250613-010ow
Deepings Library, High Street, Market Deeping. File picture.'Photo: MSMP250613-010ow
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Fresh plans for the future of Lincolnshire’s libraries are due to be published on November 22, says the county council.

The plans will be published on the Lincolnshire County Council website and it follows a consultation launched in July after the authority revealed plans to close 32 libraries, including Deepings Library in Market Deeping, and reduce the opening hours of others.

More than 6,000 people responded to the consultation and more than 9,000 signed a petition against the closure of Deepings Library.

The council hopes volunteers will come forward to run the libraries that lose their funding, although campaigners in the Deepings are determined to keep a council-run service.

Libraries in both Stamford and Bourne would remain open under the plans, although opening hours in Stamford would be cut from 55 hours a week to 50.

Bourne Library, which is run by South Kesteven District Council from the Corn Exchange, would still open for 46 hours a week.

County council leader Martin Hill (Con) said: “Plans are still being finalised at this stage, but there are key areas being looked at as a result of the feedback we’ve had.

“One thing that was clear was that rural communities valued their mobile service, so the possibility of providing more stops than originally planned is being explored.

“Opening hours are also being reviewed because access to services was seen as important.

“So far we’ve had 42 expressions of interest from local councils, community groups and other organisations willing to take over local libraries or create a brand new community-run facility.

“There were concerns about the viability of these community-run libraries, so increasing the amount of professional advice they receive is being looked at.

“An extension of the deadline for these applications is also being considered so that the few communities that have yet to come forward have a second chance to do so.

“It’s also important that those stepping forward have sufficient time to develop a sound business case.

“Once the executive has received the final proposals and considered the advice of our professional libraries’ staff, we’ll take a decision on the best way forward.”

The council is holding an extraordinary meeting on Friday, November 22 at Lincoln, starting at 2pm. Members will consider the proposals for libraries

For further details on the libraries consultation, please visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/librariesconsultation