BREAKING NEWS: County Council confirms plans for library service

Coun Bill Aron
Coun Bill Aron

Lincolnshire County Council has voted to implement proposals which will change the way the county’s libraries services are run.

The proposals will see the implementation of a two tier statutory service, a community-run service, and mobile library service.

Horncastle and Woodhall Spa libraries will be listed as two of five ‘Tier 2’ libraries and will be open for 31 and 18 hours respectively.

Woodhall Spa could have a further three opening hours on Mondays, if volunteers come forward.

The council has received an expression of interest from a community group in Wragby to run the library which was set for closure under initial proposals.

The ‘community-hub’ would be run by volunteers but would be supported by the council until March 31 2015.

The council will also continue running a mobile service and discretion will be given to community officers when planning routes to maximise the reach of its service.

Horncastle and Woodhall Spa libraries will be stocked with at least 9,000 books, a minimum of five people’s network computers, printing and scanning facilities, community information and reference resources.

If a community group takes over the running of Wragby library, it will be receive a revenue grant of over £5,000 and a one-off community investment of £15,000.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “I’m really pleased because we have come out with the potential for more static libraries than we started with and we are saving £1.73 million and we will still have a comprehensive and efficient service.

“It’s been a civilised discussion right the way through. We had some interesting consultation events but that’s the nature of those events.

“I think we’ve been through a good process. There are always flaws in any process but it has been a very comprehensive consultation.

“I like to think we have taken on a lot of feedback in terms of providing additional services, additional support for community hubs and ending up with a library service which is providing more libraries than we started with.”

An expression of interest has yet to be received for the library in Tattershall which also serves Coningsby.

There is still an opportunity for a local group to come forward and the deadline has been set at January 31, 2014.

Groups are asked to fill in a form with details of their plans for the site but if this is not completed, Coningsby and Tattershall will be served by a mobile library.

If a group comes forward, they will also receive the same level of support as the group which is currently planning to take over Wragby library.

Because of the changes, the council will be spending £4.3m on library services, compared to a current budget for 2013-14 which is set at £6.08m.

There will be a reduction in staff of an estimated 102 posts across the county - equivalent to 35.5 full-time positions.