Emsworth library will remain open until new premises are identified. So says Hampshire county councillor Ray Bolton.
The library on the town square was facing closure when its present lease runs out next year. Previously, the council had said it was too expensive to continue in its present premises, and that the lease would not be renewed.
Local campaigners against closure cited figures showing the library was the best used of the county’s small libraries. The library has 150,000 visits a year, with cost per borrowing at half that of comparable libraries.
“HCC are looking for an alternative location for the library in Emsworth, with lower occupancy costs than the present location,” says Cllr Bolton, member for the Emsworth & St Faith’s division since 2009, tells The News.
“The Emsworth library will remain in its present location until a lower occupancy cost premises can be found.”
“This is tremendous news,” says library campaigner Bob Smyth. “The fear was that no replacement would be ready next year, and the library would close.
“Locating and fitting out alternative premises takes time, so this provides a breathing space.” The library will become even more important, he suggests, as a result of proposed new building in “the Emsworth gap”.
“The wider picture across the county is that Hampshire County Council is keeping all libraries open and this includes Emsworth Library,” Cllr Bolton tells the Friends. ”Should I be re-elected, rest assured the future of the Emsworth Library will continue at the top of my list of priorities.”
Bob Smyth 16th April 2017