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Libraries facing the final chapter

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: June 26, 2013

  • Coningsby/Tattershall library. Photo: John Aron.

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A NUMBER of libraries across East Lindsey could close and be replaced with mobile services if communities do not volunteer to run them.

Lincolnshire County Council has announced a number of changes to how the authority wants to provide library provision in the future to help save £2million.

The proposals will mean reducing the number of static libraries from 47 to just 15, with the loss of 170 jobs.

Of those only 10 will be open on a full time basis. These include those at Louth, Mablethorpe and Skegness.

Horncastle Library, which is also a community access point with an office for the Horncastle town clerk, is proposed to reduce to 25 hours per week.

Woodhall Spa library which currently operates 18 hours per week from the static library and nine hours a month through a mobile service, will be increased to 25 hours from the main library.

But other libraries in the district are facing being replaced with a mobile service if communities do not offer to run them themselves.

One of the libraries most affected by the plans is Alford.

In April, volunteers came together to help extend the library's opening hours for the benefit of the community.

Now they are hoping to put forward a case to help keep Alford Library open.

Joint chairman Janet Mackey said: "If this library closes, it affects not only the book-borrowing public but also the people who use the computers on the site.

"Another public amenity will be lost to the town, and travelling to the larger centres of Mablethorpe and Skegness is not really the answer due to the lack of public transport for many."

The volunteers hope that Alford Town Council or another organisation will consider taking the library on.

Volunteer Hazel Bogg said: "We have been getting a lot more people using the library on a Thursday after the word got out that we had helped to extend the hours.

"The library staff at Alford are so friendly and it would be heart-breaking to lose them."

Spilsby Library is also faced with possible closure, as is Coningsby and Tattershall Library, even though it hosts the Tattershall Parish Council office.

Some villages which currently receive a mobile library service are also faced with changes with some rounds being scrapped altogether.

Councillor Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said due to new technology, the number of book stock issued in the county in the last 10 years has dropped from 5million to under 3 million.

He said: "The library service is changing, like it or not, and our vision for the future of the service is a comprehensive one, but one that remains both affordable and efficient.

"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."

He said the council will be speaking to any parish councils affected by the plans over the coming months.

A public consultation is expected to run from July 3 until September 30.

The libraries being offered to the community but could be replaced with mobile services of six-eight hours per month only:

Alford – currently open 19 hours a week

Burgh le Marsh – currently open 10 hours per week

Coningsby/Tattershall – currently open 28 hours per week

Spilsby – currently open 21 hours per week

Sutton on Sea – currently open 14 hours and three hours by volunteers a week

Wainfleet – currently open 14 hours per week

No change

Ingoldmells – already being run by the community – no change proposed.

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