County council's call to volunteers to help run Lincolnshire's library service
A consultation exercise has been launched to decide how many libraries are needed in the county - and how many people would be willing to help run them as volunteers.
It is part of the review of library services by Lincolnshire County Council, which has already confirmed that it only intends to run 15 council-staffed centres in Lincoln and the county's towns.
The authority also intends to run a wide range of online services such as e-books and audio books.
But local communities are being asked to either take over their local library or create their own, with professional support from the council.
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The proposals are for 10 council-run libraries to be retained for 50 hours a week at Boston, Gainsborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Louth, Mablethorpe, Skegness, Sleaford, Spalding and Stamford.
Five others - in Bourne, Market Rasen, Horncastle, Long Sutton and Woodhall Spa - are scheduled to stay and be open 25 hours each week.
Councillor Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: "The way in which libraries are used is changing, not just in Lincolnshire, but across the country.
"In Lincolnshire, 82 per cent of the population are not active borrowers and book stock issued in the county in the last 10 years has dropped from five million to under three million.
"Smart phones, tablets, Kindles and new technology are changing the way we do things.
"The library service is changing, like it or not, and our vision for the future of the service is a comprehensive one, but one that remains both affordable and efficient.
"Despite the need for change, our ambition is to keep all of Lincolnshire's libraries open.
"However, this is only going to work with the support of our local communities.
"We will support residents and organisations that step forward and lend a hand.
"And by getting them more involved we think we can actually create a library service that's better tailored to each community's individual needs.
"Successful changes have already taken place at a number of libraries, such as Saxilby and Waddington, improving services and getting better value for money."
Visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/librariesconsultation or call 01522 782040 before the deadline on Monday, September 30.