A town council whose library is now under threat after being dropped from Northamptonshire County Council’s safe list says it will do everything it can to keep the library open.
In its new plans announced earlier this week the county council is proposing that Burton Latimer library becomes one of the 17 community managed libraries which will no longer form part of its statutory provision.
The library is the only one of the county’s 36 libraries that has seen its fortunes change as a result of the new review. Under the original plans last March the library was one of those proposed to stay open.
The news has been met with disappointment by Burton Latimer Town Council, but Mayor Fergus Macdonald says lots of work is being done to understand the finances that would be needed to run the library.
He said: “We are determined to do everything in our power to make sure the library does not close. But until we have all the facts it is very difficult to make a firm decision. We need to make sure it is financially stable.
“What I can say quite positively is that once we have all the facts we will be having a public meeting to put it to the people of Burton Latimer.
“I believe it would be wrong for the final decision to be made by just the 10 town councillors and people from the friends group.”
A spokesman for the county council said: “We have considered carefully the statutory obligation to ensure there is a comprehensive and efficient library service across the county.
“To this end we propose to retain the large libraries in each borough and district under NCC statutory offer and we have assessed local need and feedback from consultations to identify which other libraries are required to remain statutory.”
The library in Burton Latimer’s High Street has been open since 1973 and is well used by the community with many groups and activities taking place each week.
It is currently open six days a week and has an active ‘friends of’ group.
Because it is to be community managed it will have to pay for its own building and running costs. Insurances and DBS checks for staff will also have to be paid for.
The new libraries plan, which will be voted on by the county council cabinet on Tuesday (Dec 11), will see 14 libraries remain in NCC full control and a further five be managed by the community but still within the statutory provision.
This means that if the community running the library was to fail then the county would take back responsibility. The other 17 libraries which will be community managed would not have that security.