Just £40,000 a year could be enough to save each of Hyndburn’s threatened libraries, new figures have shown.
Figures obtained by Observer show that the three libraries earmarked for the axe by Lancashire County Council - Clayton-le-Moors, Oswaldtwistle and Rishton - are still an integral part of our community with more than 124,000 visits paid to them last year.
They also show that more than a quarter of a million items have been borrowed in the last three years from the three libraries.
Conservative group leader Tony Dobson said he was surprised at how low the running costs were compared to the high number of visitors.
Nick Collingridge, director of Mercer House 1842 which has formed a working group looking at options for Clayton-le-Moors library, said: “These figures really do speak for themselves and this indicates there is a need for local people to have their libraries open.”
Coun Dobson added: “I’m also disappointed that the county council doesn’t seem to want to engage with local community groups to help save these important and well used facilities.
“For some time there has been a lack of investment and modernisation not necessary of the building but about the future of libraries in the 21st-century, I would like to see the county council and in particular Hyndburn county councillors really come to the fore with a creative and imaginative solution to keep these facilities for local residents.”
The 100-year-old Oswaldtwistle is one of only five Carnegie libraries in Lancashire, but is the only one under threat of closure, despite having the highest visitor numbers out of the three facing the axe.
According to the council figures released to the Observer by Lancashire County Council under the Freedom of Information Act it cost the council just over £40,000 to run Oswaldtwistle library last year, while they spent £44,000 on Clayton-le-Moors and £37,000 on Rishton.
A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: “The proposal to close some libraries is part of a wider plan to ensure people can continue to access good services while making significant savings by reducing the number of buildings the county council owns and rents. No decisions have yet been taken and we are currently asking people what they think.”
People fight to keep doors open
Community groups are fighting back against county council cuts in a bid to keep their beloved local libraries open.
Across the borough, communities have come together to try and save their facilities from the axe and keep the doors open for future generations.
Gayle Knight, treasurer of the newly formed Oswaldtwistle Lamp Community Group said they were keen to keep the 100-year-old Carnegie library open.
She said: “We are keen to see the library open but understand that it will need to be managed by a community group. With £7,000 already secured we are almost ready to submit a proposal to Lancashire County Council for how a community managed facility would look.
“The figures show just how much we would need to raise each month but they also show that Oswaldtwistle Library is a vibrant and busy facility that is well used by the local community and schools.”
Emma Clark, who has campaigned to save Rishton library said: “Rishton library is much more than a place to borrow books within our village.
“It is the heart of the community, a meeting space, a place meet friends and socialise.”
Hyndburn Libraries under threat
Library items borrowed
Annual staffing costs
Building running costs