The facts on Lincolnshire library cuts ahead of key decision

Protesters fighting to save their libraries outside Lincolnshire County Council's offices in Lincoln. Photo: Ros Jackson. EMN-150127-163457001
Protesters fighting to save their libraries outside Lincolnshire County Council's offices in Lincoln. Photo: Ros Jackson. EMN-150127-163457001

On Tuesday Lincolnshire County Council’s executive committee will make a final decision on the future of the library service.

After two consultations, several protests and numerous meetings, plenty has been said. Here we break down everything you need to know before the decision is made.

The council first unveiled plans to cut £1.9m from its library budget in June 2013.

The authority said it needed to reduce the £6.1m libraries budget to £4.1m by 2014/15, as part of a wider series of cuts designed to save £146m in total.

The library proposals, which will go before the 10-person executive for a final decision on Tuesday, remain largely unchanged since then, despite a judicial review brought by campaigners in July which forced the council to hold a second public consultation.

Should the executive approve the changes, the number of council-run libraries will drop from 47 to 15. Among those 15 are Stamford Library, which will have its opening hours cut from 55 per week to 50, and Bourne Library, which will be unchanged as it is part of the South Kesteven District Council community access point.

The council is likely to put these libraries out to tender after an expression of interest from not-for-profit group Greenwich Leisure Limited during the consultation process.

All remaining libraries, including Deepings Library in Market Deeping, will face one of two fates. They will either be taken over by voluntary groups or will be replaced by “super-mobile” library, which will visit for a minimum of four hours on a weekday evening or three hours on a Saturday every fortnight. These remaining libraries would not be included in the tender process.

Volunteer groups that are chosen to run their library will be given a one-off sum of up to £15,000 for building work or equipment, £5,167 per year for operational costs, and up to 4,000 books. The group would be able to use the council’s People’s Network computer system or provide its own.

The cost of providing a super-mobile library would also be £5,167 per year.

Eighty-two jobs, seven of which are full-time, would be lost if the proposals are approved.

Changes would also be made to mobile library provision. Larger villages will get a two-hour visit every four weeks, which for some is an increase. These include Thurlby and Northorpe, Baston, Billingborough, Colsterworth, Langtoft, Morton and Hanthorpe and South Witham.

Smaller villages will get a visit of half an hour every four weeks. These include Aslackby, Greatford, Haconby, Kirkby Underwood, Manthorpe, Swinstead, and Witham-on-the-Hill, Tallington, Rippingale, Uffington and Corby Glen.

But some residents will have to rely on the home service, which is designed for people with disabilities or ill health. These include Braceborough, Castle Bytham, Little Bytham and Folkingham.

The council’s executive committee is made up of the following councillors:

Martin Hill (Con), council leader and member for Folkingham Rural; Patricia Bradwell (Con), deputy leader and member for Billinghay and Metheringham ; Colin Davie (Con), member for Ingoldmells ; Richard Davies (Con), member for Grantham North West ; Marc Jones (Con), member for Lincoln Bracebridge ; Peter Robinson (Con), member for Market and West Deeping ; Reginald Shore (Lib Dem), member for Skellingthorpe and Hykeham South ; Sue Woolley (Con), member for Bourne Abbey ; Nick Worth (Con), member for Holbeach ; Barry Young (Con), member for Sleaford Rural South.