Library closure planned for Deepings and hours could be cut at Stamford to make £2m savings

Market Deeping’s library could close and hours at Stamford Library could be cut as Lincolnshire County Council looks to save £2m on the service.

The council needs to save £125m over a four-year period so is looking to reduce its library services to the minimum statutory requirement.

Bourne Library, which recently relocated to the Corn Exchange, would not be affected by the proposals.

The council is consulting people on the proposals, which also include a raft of changes to the mobile library service.

The council said it wants to encourage communities to take over library services.

Executive member for libraries Nick Worth (Con) 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.

“Smart phones, tablets, Kindles and new technology are changing the way we do things. 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.

“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 community.

“We will support residents and organisations that step forward and lend a hand. And by getting them more involved we think we can actually create a library service that’s better tailored to each community’s individual needs.

“Successful changes have already taken place at a number of libraries, such as Saxilby and Waddington, improving services and getting better value for money. There’s no reason why this won’t work elsewhere – providing that’s what local people want.

“A consultation will help us gauge whether that appetite is there.”

It is proposing to keep 10 priority libraries, which will be open for 50 hours a week over six days and have the highest numbers of stock. Stamford Library in High Street is one of these but its opening hours would be reduced from 55 hours a week to 50 hours a week.

The other priority “tier one” libraries would be in Lincoln, Grantham, Boston, Spalding, Gainsborough, Skegness, Louth, Sleaford, and Mablethorpe.

There would be five libraries which are the next most popular open for 25 hours a week. Bourne Library would be one of these but would still be open for 46 hours as part of a new arrangement with the district council.

The others would be in Market Rasen, Horncastle, Long Sutton and Woodhall Spa.

People not served by these 15 core libraries would have access to an online database and a monthly visit would be arranged to deliver books to their homes.

The remaining 32 libraries, including Deepings Library in High Street, Market Deeping, would close and be replaced by a mobile service of six or eight hours a month.

Deepings Library is currently open for 30 hours a week.

Mobile library services would be changed in Baston, which currently runs for one hour a week; Colsterworth, which runs for an hour and a half; Langtoft, which runs for an hour and a half; Morton and Hanthorpe, which runs for one hour; and Northorpe, which is available for half an hour. These would all be replaced by services for six or eight hours a month.

Billingborough mobile service would be unchanged but the service in Corby Glen would be reduced by half an hour and the service in Horbling would be increased by half an hour, as would the service in Uffington.

Home library services currently provided in Aslackby, Braceborough, Dunsby, Greatford, Kirkby Underwood, Little Bytham, Lound, Pointon, South Witham, Swayfield, Swinstead, Thurlby, Witham-on-the-Hill would be axed under the plans.

But as part of its proposals for communities to take over services, the council is offering communities £5,000 a year to run a library and up to 4,000 books, as well as a one-off payment of £15,000 for building works and equipment.

People have until September 30 to complete an expression of interest form and return it to the council.

The proposal for a public consultation will be discussed by the council’s executive members on Tuesday, July 2. Prior to this, it will be debated by the communities and public safety scrutiny committee on Wednesday, June 26.