Lancashire County Council is set to close more than 20 libraries, it has emerged
The news comes after a consultation into the fate of libraries across the county, which received more than 7,000 responses. The subsequent report revealed that while some libraries would remain open, more than 20 would shut their doors.
The closures, which are the result of government grants being cut, will see the number of libraries across the network fall from 73 branches to 44.
Councils are required under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to provide the public with efficient services. The county council said it was confident that while its proposals “involve the closure of a significant proportion of static libraries, the library offer overall will in fact not be diminished and will continue to exceed the minimum level of service required to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service”.
It said the cuts were a “measured response to a pressing financial imperative”.
The report stated: “The financial pressures that the council faces are unprecedented and more than ever those pressures mean that cost-effective solutions must be identified to be able to finance a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service.
“There is no easy, off the shelf solution which will allow the service to continue in its current form without having to achieve savings …
“The library service as a whole, as described in the report, taking account of the continued use of mobile libraries, ‘satellites’, the home library service and virtual library service, with a greater emphasis on a digital offer, will ensure that a sustainable 21st century library service can continue to be delivered.”
Deputy leader of Lancashire county council and portfolio holder for finance Councillor David Borrow said: “Our aim is to find a solution that still gives everyone in Lancashire good access to good services, despite the pressures on the council’s budget.
“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation – their feedback has been invaluable in helping to shape the final proposals and the cabinet will be giving the report careful consideration.”
The report is set to go before the council’s cabinet on 8 September.