Communities bid to run all 30 libraries under closure threat

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Community groups have come forward to take over all 30 libraries earmarked for closure by Lincolnshire County Council.

Last year the County Council approved plans to close two thirds of Lincolnshire libraries in order to save around £2 million per year from its budget, a move that will lead to some 170 job losses.

The deadline for groups to express an interest in taking over their libraries was on January 31.

The County Council has received bids for all 30 of the existing libraries it wants to hand over, with a further seven communities wanting to create brand-new facilities.

The 15 core libraries, including Lincoln Central, will continue to be run by the authority (or South Kesteven District Council in the case of Bourne) along with more than 200 mobile library stops.

Communities will receive a support package including more than £5,000 per year to put towards their running costs and ongoing professional advice, but the libraries will have to be run by volunteers.

Groups can also get a one-off grant of £15,000 to help set up their facility, with the council maintaining the exterior of the buildings on which it has the freehold.

Business plans must be sent in by March 31, and will be assessed in April. Each community group will receive a final decision in early May.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “It now looks like we’ll end up with more libraries than we started with, while still achieving substantial savings, which is a very positive result.

“I’d like to thank all those communities that have offered their support, and I look forward to working with them.

“The next step is to help them develop their initial proposals into full business plans, something we’ll be discussing with them in the coming weeks.”

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