A revised recommendation for the future of the library service will be discussed today (Tuesday) by Northamptonshire County Council’s Cabinet after the authority’s auditors advised it to reconsider its proposed budget for 2018/19.
The new recommendation would see the county’s eight large and seven medium libraries retained, and the 21 smaller libraries closed as council-run libraries.
Community groups which expressed an interest in taking on their local library will be offered this option.
These libraries could be run as independent libraries outside of the statutory Northamptonshire Libraries service.
The council would develop an independent library service contract which these independent libraries could buy into, such as those libraries operated in hospitals.
County council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Cllr Sylvia Hughes said: “It is hugely regrettable that we have to consider this revised proposal for the future of the library service in Northamptonshire.
“We heard loud and clear what residents across the county told us during the 12-week consultation, but given the advisory notice issued by our auditors KPMG last week, we have little choice but to reconsider our preferred option.
“KPMG quite clearly told us that they considered our proposed budget for 2018/19 was not achievable as they felt it relied too heavily on the use of capital receipts, and so we have to revisit some of our previous proposals.
“This revised recommendation gives community groups the option to take on the contract for their local library, but given the unprecedented financial challenge we are facing due to reducing funding from central government and unparalleled demand for local services, this will now be outside of the statutory library service.”
The new recommendation will be discussed at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting today, followed by a full council meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).
The recommended proposal would see the following eight large libraries retained:
- Corby Cube
- Kettering Library
- Wellingborough Library
- Northamptonshire Central Library
- Weston Favell Library
- Rushden Library
- Daventry Library
- Towcester Library
The 7 medium libraries to be retained in this option are:
- Burton Latimer Library
- Irthlingborough Library
- Hunsbury Library
- Duston Library
- Oundle Library
- Brixworth Library
- Brackley Library
The 21 libraries to be closed in this option are:
- Earls Barton
- Higham Ferrers
- Far Cotton
- St James
- Long Buckby
- Woodford Halse
- Middleton Cheney