Thirty libraries around Lincolnshire will be closed or run by voluntary groups after the County Council vote earlier today.
Under the plans smaller libraries will be run by their local communities, with the Council continuing to staff 15 larger libraries in central locations.
Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “So far, we’ve had expressions of interest for 25 existing libraries, as well as seven communities wanting to create brand-new facilities. That means we’re likely to end up with even more static libraries than we started with.
“The Council has also extended its deadline for expressions of interest, giving people until the end of January to put in a bid for their local library.”
We realise there were some people who wanted services to remain as they are, but with £2million less to spend that just wasn’t possible.Councillor Nick Worth, Lincolnshire County Council
Communities will receive a comprehensive support package, including more than £5,000 per year to put towards their running costs and ongoing professional advice.
Groups can also get a one-off grant of £15,000 to help set up their facility, with the Council maintaining the exterior of the buildings on which it has the freehold.
In addition, the Council will continue to run the existing libraries at reduced hours for up to a year, giving volunteers plenty of time to lay firm foundations for the future.
Changes were proposed in the light of an ongoing decline in usage and the County Council’s need to save £2million per year. Plans were then revised following a 13-week public consultation, with a number of changes made to the original proposals in response to the feedback received.
More than 6,000 people took part in the consultation, with the council also receiving a number of letters, emails and petitions.
Councillor Worth added: “We realise there were some people who wanted services to remain as they are, but with £2million less to spend that just wasn’t possible.
“However, I’m confident that we can now continue to provide a comprehensive library service across the county, but one that gives much better value for money.
“I’d like to thank all those communities that have offered their support, and I look forward to working with them. I’m sure that together we can create a modern library service that’s tailored to local needs.”