Community bid to save the libraries

Left to right - Councillors Alice Collinson, Shaun Turner, Tom Balmain,mar Lady Dulcie Atkins and County Councillor Vivien Taylor with thier save our libraries banner.
Left to right - Councillors Alice Collinson, Shaun Turner, Tom Balmain,mar Lady Dulcie Atkins and County Councillor Vivien Taylor with thier save our libraries banner.
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“DON’T close our libraries” is the call from Wyre’s Conservative councillors to Lancashire County Council.

Hundreds of jobs could be axed at the County Council and museums and libraries shut amid “relentless” government cuts, the authority has said. But the councillors say they are prepared to help create a community interest company in the district to keep libraries open.

LCC pledged earlier this year to retain at least one library in each district, but has already voted to close 40 - as yet unnamed libraries - to save money.

Deputy leader Alan Vincent, together with Wyre and County Coun Vivien Taylor, Shaun Turner and Howard Ballard travelled to York to meet with the chief executive Fiona Williams, head of the Community Interest Company which has run York Library Service for the past two years.

The meeting was for the councillors to examine the way in which the service is operated and to see how Libraries could be run at lower cost to the tax payer without having to close large numbers of community hubs.

Coun Vincent said: “York spun its library service into a Community Interest Company two years ago making an immediate 20 per cent saving on cost with more to come.

“This is a great model which we have urged Lancashire County Council to look at as a matter of extreme urgency.

“You have to think outside the box these days to preserve services which are vital to our communities.”

The councillors now hope to meet Labour cabinet member Coun Marcus Johnstone for talks over the cuts.

He has previously said the council is “between a rock and a hard place” over libraries because of funding cuts.