Morecambe Library to become ‘unstaffed’ under new plans

Morecambe Library.
Morecambe Library.

Morecambe Library would become an unstaffed ‘satellite’ library under new proposals to cut library services in our district.

A library insider also told us that Heysham Library could become the main library for Morecambe under the Lancashire County Council cost-saving plans.

Last year Morecambe Library (200,988) had more than three times more visitors than Heysham Library (63,276).

A 12-week public consultation on the future of libraries is due to start on May 18.

The proposals are to reduce the number of Lancashire libraries from 73 to 44.

It is proposed that 37 of these will offer a fully staffed service and seven - including Morecambe - will be ‘satellite’ libraries which are not staffed, but where people can use self-service counters to collect books which they have reserved and return books.

County Councillor Chris Henig said: “Morecambe library is down to be a satellite library, alongside other services, which means there will no longer be any permanent staff based there.

“But there will be some sort of library service there. Mobile libraries are key in all this.”

A worried Morecambe library user, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I’m horrified.

“How is this going to work? Books don’t put themselves back. It will be chaos.
“It’s a shame, a huge loss to the community.”

Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth and Silverdale libraries, and Lancaster and Morecambe’s Registration Offices, are also on a list of properties likely to be sold off under new proposals.

Balmoral Children’s Centre, Poulton Children’s Centre and Heysham Children and Young People’s Centres all face closure, alongside Barton Road, Firbank and Ryelands in Lancaster.

Lancaster library, which is expected to remain unchanged, received the second highest visitor numbers for libraries in Lancashire in 2015, with 341,197 unique visits, an average of 6,842 a week.

Carnforth had 35,400 visits, or 708 a week, Bolton-le-Sands received 14,212 (284 a week), Halton received 7,056 (141 a week), and Silverdale received 10,787 (216 a week).

Lancashire County Council needs to save £200m by 2020/21.