Glimmer of hope for the future of Lancashire’s libraries

Closure: Fulwood Library, another Lancashire library earmarked for closure

Closure: Fulwood Library, another Lancashire library earmarked for closure

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County Hall bosses are being urged by the government to consider all options to keep Lancashire libraries open.

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, secured a Westminster Hall debate, specifically on the future of Thornton and Cleveleys libraries - both of which are among those earmarked for closure.

He is keen for Lancashire to consider a proposal from Wyre Council for a community interest company to take over all the area’s libraries, a model already being used in other areas of the country.

During the debate Culture Minister Ed Vaizey called on Lancashire to engage with borough councils in the search for a solution, at the same time acknowledging a drop in the number of users.

He said: “Of course it is perfectly appropriate for councils to look hard at their library services. It is perfectly appropriate for them, in difficult economic circumstances, to look hard at all the services that they deliver to see whether they could be delivered more efficiently. In fact, across the country there are many examples of library services that are being innovative.”

He continued: “If the county council were not engaging properly with borough councils, I would find that extremely surprising and it would cause me significant concern. It is very important that county councils get out of their silos and talk to the local borough councils. Indeed, one of my hobby-horses ​is that councils should talk to their neighbouring councils, so the county council should talk to other councils outside Lancashire as well.”

As the debate was limited to Thornton and Cleveleys, other Lancashire MPs were unable to make their case to the minster.