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New Model Boost Long-Term Future of Northants Libraries

Author: Liam Beasley Published: 3rd December 2018 12:05

The proposal, which has been developed with community groups and District, Borough, Town and Parish Councils, has used feedback from previous consultations, and would see the vast majority of libraries being kept open.The proposal, which has been developed with community groups and District, Borough, Town and Parish Councils, has used feedback from previous consultations, and would see the vast majority of libraries being kept open.

A new plan for the long-term future of Northamptonshire County Council’s Library service and for investment to improve facilities has been revealed as part of the authority’s budget proposals.
 
The proposal, which has been developed with community groups and District, Borough, Town and Parish Councils, has used feedback from previous consultations, and would see the vast majority of libraries being kept open.
 
And the Council is proposing to invest new money to enhance facilities across the county. The Council will continue its investment for a new library as part of the Daventry community hub, and alongside partners has made a bid to the One Public Estate programme to explore options for a new Community Health and Wellbeing Hub at Weston Favell.
 
The current draft proposal is to keep 14 libraries directly under the county council’s management. Another five would be community managed while still delivering statutory responsibilities with support from the county council.
 
The remaining 17 would be community managed. Proposals have been developed for these with Districts, Borough, Town and Parish Councils and community groups. Discussions are still ongoing for three of these.
 
The approach taken in each local area has been developed in partnership with community organisations and councils, tailoring each individual proposal to local need and the resources available.
 
Libraries that remain under county council control would be reviewed to develop what they currently offer, to increase footfall and maximise income.

It is also anticipated that money from developer contributions, under Section 106, would be used to support the improvement of library infrastructure, with investment available at individual libraries.
 
Cllr Cecile Irving-Swift, county council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “At the heart of this proposal is the fact that we’ve worked with some wonderful community groups who clearly have a passion for books and libraries.
 
“As such we’ve been able to sit down and draw up unique plans with the groups so that a model is proposed that is workable in each location.
 
“The plans deliver a budget saving while at the same time ensuring the long-term future of the service – a proposal which I am delighted to endorse.”
 
The  Council cannot consider maintaining the library service in its current form due to budgetary constraints and the need to deliver savings.
 
Last year the Council proposed an Independent Library model, however this was paused following public consultation and ultimately quashed following a Judicial Review.
 
If approved by Cabinet the new library proposals will be subject to an eight week consultation.

The proposals for each library is as follows:

 

1 NCC run statutory library 

This will be a library that is staffed by Northamptonshire County Council and is part of the statutory library provision for the county.  The libraries in this category are:
 

  • Corby
  • Kettering
  • Rushden
  • Wellingborough
  • Daventry
  • Towcester
  • Weston Favell
  • Northamptonshire Central
  • Hunsbury
  • Irthlingborough
  • Oundle
  • Duston
  • Brixworth
  • Brackley.
 
2 Community managed statutory library

 
This will be a library that is not staffed by Northamptonshire County Council but will be community managed with support from the Council and will form part of the statutory library provision for the county.
The libraries in this category are:
 

  • Desborough
  • Thrapston
  • Earls Barton
  • Deanshanger
  • Middleton Cheney.
3 Community managed non-statutory library

 
This will be a library that is not staffed by Northamptonshire County Council and is not part of the statutory provision for the county.
It would be managed by a community group and would be an additional library provision as long as the community group wish to/ are able to maintain it.  This may or may not be in the current library location.  The libraries in this category are:

  • Rothwell
  • Raunds
  • Higham Ferrers
  • Long Buckby
  • Far Cotton – discussions still on-going
  • Woodford Halse
  • Wollaston
  • Moulton
  • Kingsthorpe
  • Roade
  • Wootton
  • Danesholme
  • St James – discussions still on-going
  • Abington
  • Burton Latimer
  • Finedon,
  • Irchester – discussions still on-going
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Comments

peter k
At 16:14 on 5th December 2018, peter k commented:
I do hope with all this very commendable activity in our libraries, creating a local social hub, internet access, school children activities, that the core reason for a library, the "library books", is not forgotten? Hopefully an oversight?

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