MP: Lincolnshire library plans "unacceptable"

MP: Lincolnshire library plans "unacceptable"

Lincolnshire county council's plans for its library network have been criticised in the strongest terms by a local MP.

Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, described the authority's plans to close or hand over to volunteers 32 of its 42 libraries as "completely unacceptable".

Leigh said: "We all understand that in these trying times councils have to make difficult decisions about the services they provide, but our libraries are an absolutely fundamental and irreplaceable part of our way of life here in Lincolnshire."

Speaking to the Gainsborough Standard, Leigh said: "People young and old and from all walks of life find in our libraries a second home and a gateway to an entire world of information and learning. Yes, changes should be made to make our libraries more affordable and more sustainable in the long term, but these proposals put our entire library culture at risk."

Leigh called on the council to reconsider its plans "immediately".

Councillor Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, told the Standard that the authority wanted to keep all of Lincolnshire's libraries open, saying it was talking to the Lincolnshire Co-operative, which had offered support to keep six of the libraries open.

"So far we've been approached by 21 communities who are interested in becoming involved in running local library services," he added.

A petition protesting against the plans, part of a scheme to save £2m from the council's budget, has attracted over 20,000 signatures.