William Eichler 23 August 2019

Northants gives green light to 17 community-run libraries

Northamptonshire County Council has approved the business cases of 17 community-run libraries as part of a plan to safeguard the future of the authority’s library service.

It also plans to work with five libraries to further develop their business plans.

The cash-strapped local authority has drawn up a strategy to protect libraries in its area from cuts, with input from community groups and district, borough, town and parish councils.

The strategy was then refined following a consultation and evaluation process.

The county council aims to continue running 14 libraries, while five more will provide statutory services but will be in the hands of community groups. 17 will be managed entirely by the community.

Northamptonshire County Council has had financial difficulties – facing at one point a £65m cash shortfall – and was issued two Section 114 notices last year, which meant all spending on non-essential services had to be halted.

By April this year, they had found the £65m thanks to a 'stabilisation plan’ that included cuts in services, increased charges and job losses. The Section 114 notice has been lifted.

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