Campaigners are celebrating after the threat of the axe was finally lifted from a Hyndburn library.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) has overturned a decision to make Rishton library surplus to requirements, ending two years of uncertainty over the building’s fate.
The library, on High Street, was facing possible closure or being transferred into community hands, after it was confirmed as one of three in the borough at risk.
However, LCC’s cabinet has decided to reopen 13 libraries since the Tories took control of county hall in May, and agreed to transfer ownership of six more to independent community groups.
If the Rishton library had closed a replacement ‘satellite’ service may have opened at Copper House Children’s Centre.
Rishton councillor Ken Moss said it was a ‘good outcome’. He said: “I’m delighted they’re keeping it open. We put together quite a comprehensive case for a community asset transfer in the event of it being shut down.
“However, the fact that LCC have now decided to keep it open and run it themselves means the pressure is off for finding volunteers. It’s a thank you to all the people involved who were prepared to step up.”
Emma Clarke, of Save Rishton Library Group, said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear Rishton library will remain open.
"I hope this will be the perfect opportunity for LCC to expand the services which the library offers to provide a real community hub for the village.”
County Coun Peter Buckley, LCC’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We have committed to reopening libraries where they’ve been closed, whether they’re run by the county council or independently by community organisations, and we are grateful to all the voluntary and community groups who have shown such commitment to the library service.
"In the case of Rishton library it makes sense for the county council to retain ownership of the building.”
More than 1,600 people backed the Observer’s campaign to save five libraries first announced as being at risk by the then Labour ruling group in 2015.
A new community library opened in Clayton-le-Moors in May.
Oswaldtwistle library is expected to re-open under county management next year. The county council said they do not yet have a timeframe for it to reopen.