We need answers on our library’s future

Silverdale residents protesting over the closure of the library last year
Silverdale residents protesting over the closure of the library last year

Silverdale residents look set to vote on whether they want the county council to re-open their library, or whether it would be better run by the community.

Lancashire County Council said last week that it plans to resurrect several closed libraries across the county - including Silverdale and Bolton-le-Sands.

The council told John Bennett, chairman of Silverdale Parish Council, that the community could make the decision.

Mr Bennett said the community’s plans go well beyond what the county council would provide, with longer opening hours, including Saturdays, and increased use of the space for groups and events.

He said: “An enormous amount of work has gone into our proposals, and we have 60 volunteers who’ve committed to supporting the project.

“We feel we’re a bit short of specific information.

“We’d like it to have longer opening hours which the community could do.

“But will volunteers be allowed to work alongside or supplement professional staff? We need answers to our questions.

“Our library was going to become a community information hub. It was going to be much more than what it was originally.

“There’s some very strong feelings in the group that want to see B4RN broadband set up in the library for example.

“If libraries are going to face the chop again, by going ahead with our project we’d be immune from that, but of course we’d need to find the money to run it.”

Mr Bennett said the group was on the brink of agreeing a 125-year lease for the building, but that negotiations were “in the gravel” because of the county council elections in May.

He said that once all the information is available, then a meeting would be arranged with all interested parties to decide what to do.

We contacted Lancashire County Council for a response to Mr Bennett’s questions.

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