THREE libraries in Luton are facing closure as the council continues the drive to find cash-saving cuts.
A report which is due to be discussed by the authority’s Executive later this month, recommends that Wigmore library and Sundon Park library should be shut permanently, with the mobile library service also being ended.
Elsewhere, the report suggests that services at the Central library, Bury Park library and the Home library would stay the same, while Lewsey Park library would be single-staffed, Marsh Farm library would see a decrease in opening hours but would stay open all day on a Saturday, and Leagrave library would stay open, but would shut on Sundays.
In addition, three library access points would be installed throughout the community, which would allow residents to search for and request their books.
At present, the locations for these access points has not been decided.
This option, if accepted by the council, would save £600,000 of the £650,000 that was expected to be saved from the library services.
A second option, would see Bury Park library close, in addition to the changes
With libraries facing closure there will be the inevitable threat of redundancies at Luton Culture, but the final number of staff at risk will not be known until an option is chosen by the authority.
A spokeswoman for Luton Culture, the independent trust which looks after the library services in the town, said: “Luton Culture believes that the loss of any library is detrimental, particularly at this current time of economic hardship for many.
“However, we feel that taking into account the significant reduction in funding, the option being recommended will provide the best possible library service for Luton residents.”
As the report had not been published at the time that Luton on Sunday went to press, the council was unable to make an official comment on the proposals.
However, it is thought that the authority has worked closely with Luton Culture to create the recommended option.
It is believed that more than 4,000 residents from across the town engaged with the long-running consultation process, which asked people how often they use their local library, how they travel to it, and how they would be affected if the service was lost.
At present, 88 per cent of the residents in town are no
further than one mile from a library.
If the first option is accepted, this would only slightly drop to 86.6 per cent.
Both of these recommendations are due to be discussed by the council’s Executive at a meeting at the town hall on Monday, July 29.
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