Austerity hit Lancaster libraries set to re-open

Protesters fighting the closure of Silverdale library
Protesters fighting the closure of Silverdale library

Two libraries in the Lancaster area that were closed last year look set to re-open.

Silverdale Library and Bolton-le-Sands libraries were closed as part of Lancashire County Council’s Property Strategy following cuts to its budget.

But now the Conservative run council is proposing a phased re-opening of several libraries across the county, potentially by the end of this year or early next year.

There were proposals to transfer the management of Bolton-le-Sands and Silverdale to community led initiatives, but in both villages, action groups say they would withdraw their interest if the county council was to resume running the libraries.

The council said a significant amount of activity will be needed to reopen the libraries.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet will now consider the proposals.

26 of the council’s original 73 libraries were closed under the council’s previous administration.

County Coun Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “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.

“That is why we’re proposing to reopen libraries which were closed, as well as safeguarding full library services at six libraries which had been due to close or see the level of service reduced.

“A significant amount of activity will be needed to reopen the libraries which were closed.

“This will include building assessments and carrying out work to improve the condition of some buildings, recruiting and training staff, reconnecting ICT and other infrastructure, and reallocating book stock.

“Building surveys are already underway and the next step will be to produce a detailed timeline for libraries reopening. Whilst some require minimal work in order to reopen, at this stage we’re anticipating that most will reopen between this autumn and spring next year.”