Notts libraries protected until 2025 – but some may move

All libraries in Nottinghamshire will be protected from closure ‘through until 2025’, a leading councillor has confirmed.
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However, he says some sites may relocate or ‘co-locate’ as the authority looks to cut costs on some expensive, old buildings.

Council figures show visitor numbers for the county’s 60 static libraries hit 112,087 for the period of April 1 to June 30, 2021, 19.49 per cent of the council’s target.

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It led to concerns some libraries could close amid cost-saving exercises and less demand, due to the pandemic and services moving online.

Mansfield Library.Mansfield Library.
Mansfield Library.

But a leading councillor has given assurances residents will still have access to a library within their ‘locality’ by the time the next elections arrive in May 2025.

However, he says his assurances do not mean some libraries will remain within the same physical building.

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Coun John Cottee, Nottinghamshire Council communities chairman, said: “I’m happy to confirm this administration will maintain Nottinghamshire’s network of 60 libraries and its mobile provision through to 2025.

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“The only qualification to that statement is to emphasise I’m talking about libraries, rather than buildings.

“That’s because opportunities may – and have – arisen to relocate services to different buildings in the same locality that offer better value for taxpayers’ money.

“It may also be opportunities arise to co-locate libraries with other services to provide a one-stop-shop for our communities.

“The bottom line, however, is nobody who has access to a library within a reasonable difference to where they live now will cease to have that access now or in the next three years, nor beyond if we continue in office.”

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He said there will be no changes to library charges and, as concerns ease over Covid and all restrictions ease, ‘footfall will improve and income will recover’.

His comments came after calls were made at County Hall to protect Nottinghamshire’s 60 sites.

Coun Daniel Williamson, member for Kirkby South, tabled a motion at last month’s full council meeting calling for libraries to be protected.

The motion, which did not get debated due to time, called on libraries to be protected until 2025 and said: “This council believes our library buildings are a valuable tool in terms of education and community cohesion.

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“Nottinghamshire Council therefore commits to keep open all 60 library buildings in their current location until at least 2025.”

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