Lincolnshire library consultation results revealed

Lincolnshire County Council
Lincolnshire County Council
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The results of a consultation to withdraw funding from 32 libraries have been revealed.

A team from Sheffield Hallam University presented its findings into Lincolnshire County Council’s libraries consultation to the community and public safety scrutiny committee this afternoon (Wednesday).

The main finding was that there was “widespread opposition” to the council’s plans from those who responded to the consultation.

Concerns were raised about access and travel times to libraries

And 68 per cent of those who responded felt the changes would have a significant impact on their community.

Council officers will now consider the results and come up with a revised proposal on the library service, which will published on November 22 and presented to the community and public safety scrutiny committee on December 2.

A final decision will then be made by the council’s executive on December 3.

Executive member for libraries Nick Worth (Con) said: “Clearly there are people who would like the service to remain exactly as it is now.

”However, there are others who understand there is a need for change in light of the ever-decreasing levels of usage and our reduced budget.

“On a more positive note, we’ve had 42 expressions of interest from local councils, community groups and other organisations willing to take over 25 local libraries or create a brand new community-run facility.

“It will take some time to digest the full findings and review our initial ideas in light of the feedback. However, we’re working to have our final proposals ready towards the end of November.”

The council also confirmed it had interest from a private company and a charitable organisation in running the library service.

The full report into the consultation can be seen on the Lincolnshire County Council website.

The council launched the consultation in July after revealing plans to close some 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.

Following today’s presentation, councillors will consider and comment on the findings and make recommendations to the council’s executive ahead of a final decision.

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.

Many villages would have their mobile library service reduced or cut completely, although some would get longer visits.