Survey shows public ‘anger’ at library cuts

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

The public ‘fundamentally disagrees’ with plans for the future of libraries which could see several in the area have to close, a survey has revealed.

Lincolnshire County Council wants to save £2 million and says that changes to the library service could deliver that – but a survey by Sheffield Hallam University found ‘strong public feeling’ with people ‘angry and upset’ at the proposals.

Under the council’s plan Kirton, Donington and Coningsby could shut and be either replaced with a reduced mobile service or see volunteers or outside bodies asked to keep them on.

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. More than 23,00 signatures have been collected on petitions opposing the move.

Council officers will now consider the results and come up with a revised proposal on the library service, which will be 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.

“On a more positive note, we’ve had 42 expressions of interest from local councils, community groups and other organisations willing to take over 25 local libraries or create a brand-new community-run facility.

“It will take some time to digest the full findings and review our initial ideas in light of the feedback. However, we’re working to have our final proposals ready towards the end of November.”

The council also confirmed it had interest from a private company and a charitable organisation in running the library service.