Council agrees set to off-load three more libraries in final chapter of cost-saving saga

Out of the original 36 county libraries, 21 were surplus to statutory requirement

Friday, 17th June 2022, 9:47 am
Irchester, Raunds and Rothwell Libraries
Irchester, Raunds and Rothwell Libraries

After a five-year process, three remaining libraries, deemed surplus to requirement by the defunct Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), will finally be handed over to the communities that they serve.

In 2017, financially-ruined NCC had to slash millions of pounds from budgets, and determined to pare back the county’s 36 libraries to 15 to fulfil its statutory duty of delivering ‘a comprehensive and efficient library service’.

In the intervening years, NCC has been superseded by North Northants Council (NNC) inheriting the libraries, including Irchester, Rothwell and Raunds.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Irchester Library was built with money donated to the Parish by Andrew Carnegie, 113 years ago

Yesterday (Thursday, June 16) NNC executive members agreed the plans for the three facilities to be put into community control, a process delayed by the Covid pandemic.

Raunds Community Library Trust could soon be partnered with an educational trust after NNC put out an open request for final expressions of interest in the building.

Leader of NNC Cllr Jason Smithers told the meeting: "The expressions of interest from these academies is fantastic. It means communities hold their libraries close to their hearts."

Raunds LIbrary

If successful the library service would remain in the existing building in High Street.

Read More

Read More
Latest chapter in Raunds Library saga as council U-turn opens bidding process

Irchester Library – built in 1909 with a £1,000 gift to the parish from library enthusiast Andrew Carnegie – closed at the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020 and has not reopened since.

Essential maintenance and repairs to the building are almost complete ahead of the parish council signing a lease agreement.

Rothwell Community Library Trust (RCLT) partnered with Creating Tomorrow Multi Academy Trust (CTAT) in January 2020 and since then, both organisations have been waiting for ‘property issues’ to be sorted out before a transfer.

CTAT and RCTL have been successfully operating the library under a ‘tenancy at will’ since January 2020, and have submitted viable business plans to NNC who say the lease is now ready to be signed.

The partnership has seen students from the Creating Tomorrow Trust working in the library to gain skills with library volunteers maintaining the lending service and community hub.

At yesterday’s meeting the executive promised that there were no plans to sell off any more libraries.