Renewal for two libraries in Lincoln

After seven months of looking for an organisation to run Birchwood and Boultham libraries a community charity will now help control the libraries.

Ignite, a community church who aim to promote community through Christian values and teachings will run the two libraries, filling the vacant operator position.

Ignite believe libraries are a key to the community and want to maintain hubs that help support aspects of communal life.

Earlier on in the year previous operator ‘Learning communities’ announced they would no longer be running the operation of the two libraries.

The registered charity ceased control over the libraries in May, however the libraries continued to run and remained open.

After giving up control Lincolnshire County Council announced that Greenwich Leisure limited, who already operate several libraries across the country would be overseeing the running and care of the Birchwood and Boultham libraries until now when a new operator was found.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture, said: “We’re really looking forward to working with Ignite to keep these fantastic libraries at the heart of their communities.

“We’re very grateful to Greenwich Leisure Limited and particularly the volunteers for having stepped up to help us to keep them open over the last few months.”

Both Birchwood and Boultham libraries do not just operate as libraries, they also operate as community centres where talks and drop in sessions for people are held, making them a hub of the community.

Darren from Ignite Elim Church he said: “We are itching to start’”

The organisation hopes to begin running the library within the next few weeks.

“We intend to faithfully and efficiently run the libraries, calling for more community and library volunteers to come and raise awareness of ongoing opportunities to learn.

“We hope to have jobs clubs, language classes, conferences, training, parties and even our very own Bible School in the hubs.

We hope to offer free space for community ran projects and groups, and we plan to use the venues to build community cohesion in the areas.”

Lincolnshire County Council have said: “There will need to be a temporary, week-long closure to allow for this transition, but we hope to have the doors open again by later this week.”

Any books that are currently out on loan from either library have been extended by three weeks.

Not everyone agrees with the change however. Oonagh Monaghan is against the churches’ running of the library saying: “Libraries should be non-partisan and not affiliated to any particular religious group.

“This is such a slippery slope and a disaster for public libraries.”

With libraries such as Birchwood and Boultan struggling to find operator-ship it raises questions as to whether libraries are in need of new organisation and running.

Library closures has increased over recent years, along with the number of people using libraries decreasing.

One member of the pupil said: “It is a shame libraries aren’t used as much as they were when I was little, I used to have so much fun going with my grandparents.”

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