Borough council joins fight to save four threatened libraries in Northampton

Councillors have resolved to work with community groups to try to facilitate the saving of four Northampton libraries under threat from closure.

Tuesday, 10th July 2018, 9:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 6:44 pm
Abington Library

The libraries in Abington, Far Cotton, Kingsthorpe and St James have all been earmarked for closure in September by Northamptonshire County Council, which has said it cannot afford to keep them open.

Despite not being the authority responsible for libraries, Northampton Borough Council has now pledged to work with residents to try to help all four in the town stay open for community use, after cross-party backing for a motion from Labour councillor Paul Joyce at its full council meeting on Monday (July 9).

Councillor Joyce said: “My library in Abington has been serving my community for 79 years and still continues to be a cornerstone and shining beacon for many local families.

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“Even though opening days have now been reduced to three days a week because of county council cutbacks, the loyal dedicated hardworking staff and volunteers help provide advice for young families, a homework club, free wi-fi to study and printing facilities.

“Nursing homes visit with their residents too, these are just some of the many services our library provides.

“If Abington Library and other local libraries disappear, what happens next?”

The four town libraries are part of 21 in the county overall that will close their doors unless community groups can take them over.

A report released by the county council last week revealed that despite leading campaigners to believe the libraries were safe until after a High Court judicial review on July 25 and 26, the authority will now bring down the shutters on all of the threatened libraries on September 30.

Leading Conservative county councillors will meet on August 1 to determine whether the community group bids to come forward have been successful.

Even libraries that are saved will likely shut for a period of time while leaseholds and freeholds are transferred from the county council to the community groups, a process the authority admits is unlikely to be completed by the September 30 closing date.