Whalley Library, which was forced to close in November in a wave of Government spending cuts, is set to reopen after a change in council leadership.
Some 26 of Lancashire County Council’s 73 libraries were closed under the previous Labour administration and the move was slammed by campaigners as “disgraceful”.
However, it will now cost £1.6m in 2017/18 and £1.7m in 2017/18 to keep the library service running and reopen properties across the region. It is predicted more than 60 jobs will be created as the Tory-run council seeks to recruit full and part-time library staff.
The move, which will also see the reopening of Spring Wood Children’s Centre, Whalley, has been welcomed by campaigners who fought to keep the much-needed facility open.
Ribble Valley councillor Ged Mirfin, who is also one of the joint leaders of the Save Whalley Library Campaign, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the library is being reopened, I look forward to meeting with county councillor Peter Buckley, the cabinet member for community and cultural services, who is responsible for public libraries, along with the deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, Albert Atkinson, within the next couple of weeks to discuss timescales for the reopening of Whalley Library and what needs to be done to achieve this.”
He added: “We are basically starting from scratch because of the mess the previous Labour administration left Whalley Library in. It isn’t just a case of the books being brought back and put back on the shelves ready for the public to start borrowing, there are actually no shelves, tables or chairs left in the building having been dismantled and disposed off either skipped or sold off. The biggest challenge we face, however, is that there are no staff to run the library. The library staff were laid off – made redundant or redeployed."
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