Library closure 'would take heart out of community'
DON'T close our library - that is the clear message being sent to Lincolnshire County Council from the people of Alford.
The community has got behind a campaign to save the town's library which could close and be replaced with a mobile service under the council's plans.
The library is one of many affected in East Lindsey which could end up as a mobile library service if a community group or business does not take it on.
Lincolnshire County Council has made the proposals in a bid to save £2 million of funding.
The council maintain that libraries have seen a decline in use over recent years.
But the people of Alford believe their library should stay open as they came together to protest in the town.
Councillor Peter Milson, who is also chairman of Governors at John Spendluffe Technology College, said: "The proposed closure of libraries will take the heart out of local communities.
"To say everyone has a laptop or kindle is simply not true, especially in areas of high deprivation.
"Libraries are a social thing and no thought has been given on the effect on elderly people who use their library."
Alford Mayor Jenny Cooper thanked the huge turnout at the protest and encouraged all to sign the local petition which is available in many outlets in the town.
She said: "We are all very disappointed in the council's attitude - they should listen to the people who use the facility. People who come to Alford to use the library also use the shops so it will effect local businesses.
"It is a case where large towns gain and rural towns lose out again."
Lucy Arnett from Well is also concerned about the plans. She said: "We moved here nine years ago and one of the criteria was that we had to be near a library.
"I have spoken to neighbours and they said the library was one of their main issues too.
"Libraries help bring people together and are a social outlet. The council has spent our money refurbishing the library and now we can't have a say in its future."
Matthew Harrison, 15 and Brandon Hillyard, 13, use the library all the time.
Matthew said: "It is a good place, we come here every day its open. We chill out, meet friends and all the staff know us."
Brandon said: "The staff are really helpful. I really hope it does not close."
Lincolnshire County Councillor Steve Palmer also attended the protest.
He said: "Alford Library is a unique case because its usage is much higher with around 40 per cent of the population using it. It is a very well used library and I would support it on that basis alone.
"I am a volunteer and I know the limitations. It is wrong for the county council to think they can get a professionally run library service from library volunteers alone.
"The community also raised money for this library and they feel morally that this building is theirs."
The county council's public consultation is expected to finish in September.