Villagers threaten to boycott new library at Saxilby over staffing
Angry residents are threatening to boycott a new library in Saxilby.
The current facility in Highfield Road is set to be replaced by one at St Andrews Community Centre in the autumn.
But villagers have vowed not to use the facility. They argue the new site will no longer have the personal touch because all three of the current library's staff have been asked to work elsewhere.
Instead, the new library will be managed by bar staff already employed at the community centre. There will also be self-service machines.
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Campaigners also say the use of a bar, local sports clubs and fitness classes at the centre will lead to noise and "rowdy behaviour".
Saxilby resident Sue Smith said: "We have a major concern about the current staff losing their jobs.
"Lincolnshire County Council said this (the new library) was good news but it isn't and the truth needs to be told.
"The librarians who currently work there give it that personal touch and that will be lost.
"The new library will be noisy and many of us don't want to have to walk through a bar full of people to get to read books. There is a real threat of people boycotting this new facility."
Currently, volunteers work two hours on a Wednesday morning at the library. At the new site, they are being asked to work 14 hours between them each week.
Volunteer Jane Kent now says she is considering quitting.
She said: "We were told at a meeting in September that we were not becoming volunteers to replace other people's actual jobs. That's the condition on which many of us agreed to do it."
Saxilby resident Elaine Parry said: "As far as I know the new facility is going to be a third of the size of the current one – what good is that?
"Where will all the books be kept? Without proper librarians, who is going to ensure books are well looked after? It's shocking."
Two weeks after saying the new library was a "win-win" situation, Eddy Poll, executive member for cultural services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "The council's budget has been reduced by £125 million.
"This project is an opportunity to maintain library services in Saxilby while significantly reducing running costs.
"The new library will have greatly extended opening hours – something residents have been calling for.
"While we understand that a few of the volunteers may have concerns, we hope they will continue to work with ourselves and the parish council for the benefit of customers."