Another milestone has been reached in Lancashire County Council’s programme to restore library services, with the council’s cabinet agreeing to reopen Bamber Bridge Library.
Following the closure of 26 of the county’s 73 libraries by the council towards the end of 2016, a new administration was elected in May 2017, and decided to re-open as many libraries as possible.
12 county council-run libraries have already reopened as part of this programme, with a further 2 being reopened as independent community libraries. Plans to reopen one other county-run library and a further 4 libraries as independent community libraries have also previously been agreed.
Once Bamber Bridge Library has reopened, visitors will be able to choose from around 4,000 books and access the internet, as well as other online library and archives services, via four computers.
The cabinet had previously approved in principle a proposal to transfer Bamber Bridge Library to 1st Bamber Bridge Scouts, who planned to use the building as their new HQ, operate a community library, and make space available for other community activities.
The decision to instead reopen the library as a county council-run facility was made after the cabinet considered a report which outlined that while it was evident that the group run entirely by volunteers would make good use of the premises for their core Scouting activities, since the previous cabinet decision in October 2017 the project has not progressed at the pace hoped for and the community library offer was not a viable proposition.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “Libraries are a vital service at the heart of our communities, offering free access to books and information for leisure and learning, as well as being a place where communities can get together.
“We’re committed to delivering our plans to reopen as many as possible of the libraries which were closed and have identified the need for a library to serve the community of Bamber Bridge.
“Bamber Bridge library was closed nearly two years ago and I’m glad that cabinet’s decision will mean the restoration of this vital service, but at the same time regret that we have not been able to finalise the asset transfer proposal with 1st Bamber Bridge Scouts.
“I’d like to thank them for their proposal, and particularly their time as a volunteer-run group, however when considering the transfer of publicly-owned assets we have a duty to ensure as far as possible the robustness and sustainability of those proposals.”
The council will now progress plans to reopen Bamber Bridge Library, with further announcements to be made in due course.