Almost 70 per cent of people believe closing libraries would have a significant impact on their communities, a consultation has revealed.
A team from Sheffield Hallam University presented its findings into Lincolnshire County Council’s libraries consultation on Wednesday.
The council wants to close 32 of its 47 libraries and reduce opening hours at others.
The team told the council’s public safety scrutiny committee there was “widespread opposition” to the plans from the 6,000 people 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.
The team found there was “fundamental disagreement” with the proposed cuts, which were viewed as a “highly unfair and short-sighted approach that would result in permanent damage to the county.”
And many respondents found the survey and public consultation events were “unsuitable or inadequate ways of communicating their feelings.”
Council officers will now consider the consultation 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.”
The council confirmed it had interest from a private company and a charitable organisation in running the library service.