Some six organisations have submitted applications to run Lincolnshire’s libraries, after proposals were approved for the service to be substantially reduced.
Lincolnshire County Council’s Executive Committee approved plans in February 2015 to cut the number of libraries in the county from 45 to 15, and to put the service out to tender so that an external organisation could deliver the service on its behalf.
The authority announced on Wednesday, May 20 that is has received initial applications from:
- Compass Point Business Services
- Greenwich Leisure Limited
- Leisure in the Community
- Lincs Inspire
An evaluation will now take place, with shortlisted organisations then asked to submit a detailed bid.
A final decision is expected to be made at the end of the year with successful organisations expected to begin providing the library services from April 2016.
Initial plans submitted to cut the number of libraries in 2013 were quashed by a High Court review, which forced the county council to revise their proposal, and include an option to put the service out to tender.
Two months after revised plans were approved, campaigners fighting against library cuts announced their plans for a second judicial challenge.
As previously reported, the council also revealed that heritage sites across Lincolnshire have been included in the outsourcing contract notice for libraries.
Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “Although we’re facing a second legal challenge, we believe we took the right decision and took it lawfully, so we intend to push on with our plans.
“The way in which our libraries are used has changed and it’s important they adapt with the times.
“In addition, we can’t ignore the fact that by the end of this decade the council’s overall budget will have been almost halved.
“We believe it’s only fair that the library service plays its part in finding the necessary savings.
“However, under our proposals, we can do this in a way that both saves money and creates a service that’s fit for the 21st century.”