SKEGNESS library will not be relocated amid cost cutting changes to the service, the county council’s executive member for cultural services has confirmed.
Coun Eddy Poll visited the library this morning (Saturday) with Skegness ward holders Mark Smith and Ken Milner to address concerns which had been building among library users.
He said: “A place like this which is a great meeting place would be very hard to house anywhere else.
“Skegness library will remain where it is for the foreseeable future.”
Coun Poll’s comments are hoped to allay the growing concerns expressed by social groups, book clubs and other avid library users, who fear the service may have been relocated to premises shared with supermarkets, pharmacies or community halls.
Elsewhere in the county, several libraries have been moved into shared premises and others will be considered on a ‘case by case basis’ as part of proposals to save a third of the council’s budget for the service.
However Coun Poll has stressed that sharing premises is primarily to be considered for poorly used, impractically located libraries, with the hope of extending their provision and increasing accessibility.
Coun Smith explained that a shared premises plan at Seathorne Primary School, Winthorpe could result in the creation of a library where there was none before.
He said: “I think this is a great idea and it’s the sort of thing communities should be doing.”
In SKegness, however, where the library is well used and in a good condition, Coun Poll believes any premises sharing would be more likely to involve other council services moving in, rather than it moving out.
Coun Poll also addressed concerns about plans to replace paid staff with volunteers, which many feared would result in a downgrading of the service.
Again, he explained that the proposals were intended to enhance, rather than diminish the service, and pointed to several examples where opening hours had increased because of volunteers.
He also said that volunteers had played a vital role in the service for many years and would continue to get a great deal of professional assistance.
Coun Smith felt that Skegness as a community was well positioned to utilise volunteers effectively, having already done so with Church Farm Village, Skegness Youth Club and the RNLI.
Other local proposals may see Spilsby Library relocated into a supermarket, after it was identified as being poorly situated and initial plans to move it with the Methodist Chapel came undone.
Ingoldmells Library may relocate into a parish council owned cafe in a former church and Coun Poll said there were no plans yet for Wainfleet or Burgh le Marsh, other than the ‘desire to increase provision’.