Assurances given on Wyre libraries

Librarian Ruth Pomfret shows Jack Hardman the new book self-service system at Fleetwood library

Librarian Ruth Pomfret shows Jack Hardman the new book self-service system at Fleetwood library

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FEARS that some of Lancashire’s libraries, including those in Wyre, may be closed because of cutbacks have been allayed.

Fleetwood councillor Mark Hamer has been given assurances by the county library manager that there are no plans to close any branches across Lancashire.

Coun Hamer wrote to the county manager, Julie Bell, seeking assurances about the safety of branches in Fleetwood and Wyre.

And he was delighted with her reply.

Coun Hamer told the Weekly News: “This is excellent news.

“Our public libraries do such a great job and locally we are lucky to have such dedicated staff.”

The Warren ward councillor approached the County libraries boss because he had heard about plans nationally to close branches.

He said: “I knew of the importance of libraries to us in Wyre, and attempted to campaign quietly to try and ensure the safety of our branches.

“I know there will have to be reductions in staffing, but it is essential that our libraries stay open.”

Julie Bell wrote to Coun Hamer: “Thank you for your enquiry regarding libraries in Wyre and the whether any of them maybe closing.

“I am pleased to inform you that there will be no closures of any Lancashire Libraries.

“There will be a reduction in the staffing budget and to assist staff in ensuring we continue to provide a quality service over the past year we have installed a number of self service machines.

“There are four libraries within Wyre who have had these machines installed and the reception has been very positive.

“The libraries involved are Poulton, Garstang, Thornton and Fleetwood.”

The decisions on the budget will still need to be ratified at Lancashire’s full council tomorrow, but the safety of the libraries now appears to be assured.

Meanwhile, the new self service machines have now been installed at Fleetwood Library.

The traditional counter at the town’s North Albert Street branch has gone, with borrowers invited to process their own books via a touch-screen. After a week’s closure to install the new system, it is all systems go.

Librarian Ruth Pomfret said: “It’s better than the similar thing at supermarkets – it’s simpler.

“It isn’t telling you to do things all the time. Everything is on the screen to tell you what to do.”

Beneath the screen borrowers pass library cards though a red beam and then do the same with the bar code inside the books. Items that require payment, such as DVDs or audio-books, produce a screen prompt and payment is made via a coin slot.