Northampton

Northamptonshire libraries 'could be community-run'

Northampton Central Library Image copyright Google
Image caption Northampton Central Library would remain under direct county-council management, under the plans

Community groups and businesses could be put in charge of Northamptonshire's libraries as part of proposals to make £10m of cuts.

Under the plans, 21 libraries could become community-managed while 15 larger venues would remain under direct county council management.

A further option would be to close the county's smaller libraries.

Campaigners say closing libraries could "devastate" communities. However, the council says no decision has been made.

The council will meet on Thursday to discuss proposals to start a 12-week consultation on the plans.

Sylvia Hughes, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "We have to see what people have to say, we have to encourage everyone to take part and we have to listen to what is being said."

The libraries which could become community-run, or close, include Danesholme, Earls Barton, Wollaston, Abington and St James.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Abington Library could close or become run by a community group or business

Northampton Central Library, Corby Cube, Daventry Library and Kettering Library are among the larger venues which could remain open.

In each of the options the mobile library would be cut.

Graham Croucher, from the Friends of St James Library, said: "Closing the library here will be devastating to this community.

"You can get your blue badge, your bus pass, everything you can get at this library. It's a safe haven and a keeper of the community."

The review is part of plans to make budget savings totalling £9.6m.

The council is also looking at making changes to its highways maintenance programme, reducing funding for Trading Standards and Corby children's centres and removing bus subsidies.

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