Full council has approved an additional £1.654 million to the 2017/18 revenue budget in order to meet the running costs of re-opening closed libraries. An additional £1.571 million was also agreed which will be needed for necessary building works and associated costs to enable the closed libraries to re-open. For more information about the decisions made see information and reports from Full Council.
The cabinet has already made the decision to reopen libraries which closed last year, wherever possible. 48 libraries are currently open, 47 run by the county council and one independent community-run library run by Mercer 1842 at the Arthur Wilson Centre, Hyndburn, using the book stock and resources from the former Clayton-le-Moors library.
The libraries set to reopen are: Barrowford, Bolton-le-Sands, Burnley Campus, Freckleton, Fulwood, Lostock Hall, Oswaldtwistle, Silverdale and Whalley which will be run by the county council. In addition, progress is being made to establish independently community-run libraries at Crawshawbooth, Penwortham (in the former young people's centre), Pike Hill and Trawden
As part of preparations to reopen these libraries activities will include carrying out work to improve the condition of some buildings, recruiting and training staff, reconnecting ICT and other infrastructure and reallocating book stock. Building surveys are already underway and the next step will be to produce a detailed timeline for libraries reopening. Whilst some require minimal work in order to reopen, at this stage we're anticipating that most will reopen between this November and April next year.
Another nine libraries that are currently closed will require further consideration. Three former libraries cannot be reopened in their former premises since leases for two buildings have been surrendered and the ownership of one building has been transferred to a school but further consideration will be given to future options. Find out more about the decisions made.
Where communities want to run their own library, we've offered a package of support to help them become established. This would include giving them a one-off payment of £5,000 to provide public internet access and cover set-up costs and providing shelving and an initial supply of books. A community library manager has been appointed to offer advice and guidance, including having an appropriate constitution, gaining charitable status, fund raising, setting milestones, stock management and training volunteers. The post is for a fixed term of two years.