Volunteers offer to run 30 threatened libraries in Lincolnshire

Campaigners outside County Hall
Image caption More than 20,000 people signed a petition to save the county's libraries

All of Lincolnshire's libraries under threat of closure have received interest from community groups hoping to take over the running of them.

More than 20,000 people signed petitions opposing the cuts which put 30 libraries at risk.

In addition, the county council has received seven enquires for new community libraries.

However, some campaigners believe the volunteers who came forward had little choice and were forced to take action.

The county council plans to cut its libraries from 45 to 15 in an attempt to save up to £2m.

'Keep them motivated'

It has offered the services to community groups and volunteers and will continue to provide stock and funding, for services taken on by third parties, of £5,000-a-year.

Lincolnshire County Council's Nick Worth said the response showed "there is a lot of enthusiasm from people in their local communities".

He added: "We've looked at the costings, which was a worry for some groups, and we've said we will help wherever we can."

But Councillor Andrew Bowell, of Deeping St James Parish Council, which is involved in trying to save its local library, said: "It's just not viable.

"Finding the volunteers is difficult enough in itself and then you've got to keep them motivated all the time."

Another campaigner, Steve Palmer, said the volunteers "had their arms twisted behind their backs".

He said: "They were told if you do not come forward and offer to run your library you will get a second rate mobile service."

Groups now have until the end of March to get their business plans in place, with the first community-run libraries expected to open in May.

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