Library under threat of closure ... again

Protestors against the Newarthill Library closure campaigning in 2016, but it seems their efforts may not have been as successful as they thought.
Protestors against the Newarthill Library closure campaigning in 2016, but it seems their efforts may not have been as successful as they thought.
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Campaigners who fought to save Newarthill Library have been devastated to learn that it could be facing closure once again.

Last week in the Motherwell Times the Supporters of Newarthill Library were celebrating a year since North Lanarkshire Council agreed to keep it open.

However, as Culture NL celebrates Love Life Love Libraries arrives the news that it could close its doors in March when current funding runs out.

Culture NL initially wanted to close the library as part of its budget savings for the 2016/17 financial year, however following the successful Save Newarthill Library campaign the council itself agreed to keep it open.

This came with the proviso that the Supporters of Newarthill Library could help to improve usage, footfall and membership, all of which have gone up in the last year.

The Motherwell Times understands though that the council is unwilling to add the library to its property portfolio, while Culture NL is unwilling to take it back leaving the village facility in limbo.

Supporters of Newarthill Library secretary Cat Dormer said: “The Supporters of Newarthill Library are stunned at this news.

“We were led to believe that the library had been saved from closure indefinitely, not just a few months.

“North Lanarkshire Council has betrayed the Supporters of Newarthill Library and the people of Newarthill who voted for councillors who promised to protect the library.

“It is a disgrace that we should have to fight for our basic community services which we all have a legal and moral right to.

“As usual it will be the most vulnerable groups in our community who will suffer most from this reprehensible decision.”

The council suggested it is looking to off-load the running of the library onto a community group.

A spokesperson said: “The current funding for Newarthill Library ends in March.

“This funding has repeatedly been extended and we continue to explore a sustainable solution, including the possibility of community transfer.

“A report will be considered by the council shortly.”