21 June 2018

​Northamptonshire County Council approved proposals in February to decommission 21 libraries in the county and offer these libraries to community groups to take on and run as independent libraries outside of statutory control.

Discussions will continue with interested parties, but at a full council meeting today (Thursday), councillors recommended that officers seek to streamline the process and not to proceed with the permanent closure of any library before the outcome of the Judicial Review is known.

The Judicial Review hearing is scheduled to take place on July 26 and 27. The court sometimes reserves judgement so the outcome of the hearing may not be known until a later date.

External support

The council will be looking to bring in external experts to offer advice and to learn from other areas where such schemes have been successful.

County council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Cllr Cecile Irving-Swift said: “The libraries issue has been very difficult and challenging for all of us. We have a little more time now the judicial review has been moved back to the end of July.

“That doesn’t change the position of needing the library service, as well as other council services, to change the way they operate and to reduce costs. However, having listened to the concerns of residents and the groups who have expressed an interest in running independent libraries, we are able to use this time to consider how we may help those groups achieve their ambition.

“In doing this we will also take the opportunity to involve external experts on the subject and to consider how success has been achieved elsewhere. Further information when ready, will be shared with council and indeed the groups that have already come forward.”