Cabinet Secures Future of Two More Libraries

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lancashire County Council's Cabinet has approved proposals that secure the future of Adlington Library and Cleveleys Library Plans have already been agreed for the phased reopening of 16 libraries, 11 of which will be run by the county council, and five as independent community libraries.

Adlington Library and Cleveleys Library were among 10 libraries about which decisions had been deferred to allow time for further consideration.

Both libraries had been declared surplus to requirements following decisions taken by the council's previous administration, with Cleveleys Library being closed, however Adlington Library remains open with financial support from Chorley Borough Council, which is in place until 31 March 2018.

The county council had been considering proposals to transfer ownership of the two libraries to local groups.

However, Friends of Adlington Library, who had submitted a detailed application for a Community Asset Transfer (CAT), have decided that they would prefer the county council to operate a library service rather than continue with an asset transfer. Adlington will now join those libraries due to reopen between November 2017 and April 2018, bringing the total number of libraries to be run by the county council to 57.

The community organisation UR Potential has submitted a detailed application for the CAT transfer of Cleveleys Library and Children's Centre, where the group proposes to establish an independent community library. Their wider vision is to also make the buildings available for community use, providing opportunities for learning and activities to help reduce social isolation.

Cabinet has approved the transfer in principle which, should the application progress, would bring the number of independent community libraries in development to six.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said:

"Today's decisions have secured the future of two more of the county's libraries and I'm sure they will be well received by local communities.

"I'm pleased that we have provided certainty about the future of Adlington Library by adding it to those that will be run by the county council in future.

"I'm also confident that the plans for Cleveleys Library and Children's Centre offer the potential to make full use of this site and, as well as providing a community library, develop a wider range of services for the local community.

"We will now support UR Potential to establish the library, and will continue to work with them to progress the asset transfer so that people have access to another library which will complement the service operated by the county council.

"Libraries are a vital service at the heart of our communities, offering free access to books and information, as well as being a place where communities can get together.

"I would like to thank all of the voluntary and community groups for their commitment to the library service and its future development."

The county council's package of help to establish community-run libraries includes £5,000 to provide public internet access and cover set-up costs, as well as shelving, an initial supply of books from the county's store, and advice from a dedicated community library manager. When an independent community library becomes operational, the council will also continue to provide support through an annual grant of £1,000 to provide public internet access.

Meanwhile, progress is being made towards deciding the future of Bamber Bridge Library, which had previously been declared surplus by the county council. An application for community asset transfer (CAT) has been received from 1st Bamber Bridge Scout Group to take on the building as their new headquarters. However the county council has now asked the Scouts to consider amending their proposal to include operating an independent community library. The group is due to make a decision whether to proceed with this at their AGM at the end of September. Depending upon the Scouts' decision, the county council's cabinet will then decide in October whether to agree the CAT in principle, or reopen it as part of the county council's library service.

Tagged as: Libraries and Archives

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