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Councillor calls on Tory bosses to keep threatened Library open

September 8, 2016 8:28 PM

Leicestershire Lib Dem County Councillor Michael Mullaney has called on the Conservative leadership at the County Council to save a threatened library.

An agreement had been reached whereby Desford Library would be handed over by the County Council to a group of local volunteers to run. However the Library is in need of £45,000 of repair work, particularly to its slate roof. The community group is asking the County Council to guarantee that it will fund the repairs. The County's Conservative leadership is refusing to guarantee this meaning the Library could close.

The future of the Library was discussed at a meeting the County Council's Adults and Communities Committee on Tuesday. At the meeting Cllr Michel Mullaney urged the County's Conservative leadership to give the community group the support they need to keep the Library open.

Michael Mullaney said "Here in Hinckley and Bosworth we have already seen the Library in Barwell close. We do not want to see the Desford Library close as well.

"Desford is a large growing village and the Library is a well used and valued community asset. I would urge the Tory leadership at the County Council to give the community group all the support they need to keep the Library open."

Author Stewart Bint who lives in Desford has thrown his support behind the campaign to save the Library. "As an author I recently gave a talk to the community-run library at Newbold Verdon, and found that this new volunteer system works surprisingly well. As the County Council now have an agreement for volunteers to run Desford Library it makes no sense that they are now trying to offload a £45,000 repair bill on to those volunteers. As a precedent has already clearly been set at another library for volunteers to take on an internal lease with the council maintaining the fabric of the building, I would urge the County Council to do the same at Desford.

"Desford Library is a focal point of village life, and is far more than just a book lender: it provides an internet and email lifeline for those with no home access, photocopying and fax facilities, and keeps local history alive with its information services. I'd like to know how Councillor Blunt intends to maintain these essential services with a mobile library. Do these councillors really want to be the ones to say: 'We allowed libraries to close on our watch'?

"When this current administration has gone, its legacy will unfortunately live on, and libraries will be gone, too, unless councillors do the right thing - meet this relatively minor repair bill and pass control of the library to the volunteers who are eager to run it." Local author Stewart Bint backs the save Local Libraries Campaign