In response to the letter in last week’s paper, I’d like to clarify some points about our on-going libraries review.
These changes have been proposed because the council’s overall budget has been reduced by £150m, meaning we have to find new ways to deliver some services.
As part of our budget-setting process, it was agreed that the library service would be asked to find savings of £2m. If this money wasn’t found within the libraries’ budget, it would need to be found elsewhere.
The reduced library budget was agreed by the full council, so it is untrue to say that non-executive councillors have not had a say in this.
Also, although the council’s executive members will make the final decision on how best to make these savings, all other councillors have been invited to take part in the associated scrutiny meetings.
But 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 communities.
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.
With regard to Horncastle Library, there is no reason why local volunteers can’t help keep the library open for longer hours. This is already happening at other libraries, and we’d be keen to hear from anyone who wants to get involved.
We believe that by taking action now, and adopting a fresh approach to library services that is achievable within our new budget, we can ensure they continue to play a valuable role in our communities for many years to come.
Councillor Nick Worth
Executive member for libraries, Lincolnshire County Council