County Council U-turn boost for local libraries

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News

Lincolnshire County Council has published new proposals for the future of the county’s library service following a public consultation.

Under the revised proposals, Horncastle and Woodhall Spa libraries will be listed as two of the county’s five ‘Tier 2’ facilities with opening hours of between 18 and 31 a week.

As well as these two facilities, the county council have received an expression of interest from a community group regarding the future of Wragby Library.

The library could be turned into a Community Hub which would be run by the group which has expressed an interest.

Horncastle and Woodhall Spa libraries have been listed as Tier 2 libraries through criteria including user base and rurality and isolation.

The other three libraries listed as Tier 2 include Bourne, Long Sutton and Market Rasen.

Tier 2 facilities will include a book stock of at least 9,000, a minimum of five People’s Network computers, self service technology and printing, as well as including class visit opportunities for local schools.

Under these proposals Horncastle’s library hours would be:

Monday 9-4

Tuesday Closed

Wednesday 9-1

Thursday 9-4

Friday 9-6

Saturday 9-1

This would give Horncastle 31 hours of library access time a week. Initially, the library faced a much harsher cut in opening hours.

In Woodhall Spa the hours would be:

Monday Closed

Tuesday 10-4

Wednesday Closed

Thursday 1-6

Friday 10-2

Saturday 10-1

This would leave Woodhall Spa with a total of 18 hours with a view to 21 hours if volunteers could be found for Mondays.

Coningsby/Tattershall library would close under the proposals and be replaced by a mobile library as a group has not put forward an expression of interest to keep the centre running as a Community Hub.

The council have extended their deadline for expressions of interest to be made to January 31, 2014.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “One thing that was clear from the consultation was that rural communities valued their mobile services, so 146 more mobile stops have been included in the revised proposals.

“So far, we’ve had expressions of interest for 24 existing libraries, as well as seven communities wanting to create brand new facilities.”

The total amount which would be saved by the county council as a result of the revised proposals is £1,734,183.

This sees a reduction in the libraries budget from £6,085,955 to £4,351,772.

Under the revised proposals LCC will be spending over £250,000 than under their initial plans.

The proposals will see a reduction in staffing of roughly 102 posts which amounts to 35.5 full-time equivalent staff members.