UP Holland Library is to reopen as an independent, community-run organisation following a decision made by Lancashire County Council’s cabinet on Thursday, December 7.
The cabinet agreed in principle an application for the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) of Up Holland Library in West Lancashire to Artz for All, a community interest company which provides creative opportunities and services to people, schools and organisations across the district.
As well as providing an independent, community-run library service, the group is proposing to turn the building into an arts centre, providing opportunities for young people to take part in activities such as drama, music, dance and photography, as well as providing space for wider community activities where possible.
The county council had also received a CAT application from Up Holland Parish Council for the same building, focused on providing an independent community-run library and maintaining it for use by the community.
The group will be able to access a package of help from the county council to establish community-run libraries, which includes £5,000 to provide public internet access and cover set-up costs, as well as shelving, an initial supply of books from the county's store, and advice from a dedicated community library manager.
When an independent community library becomes operational, the council will also continue to provide support through an annual grant of £1,000 to provide public internet access.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We have committed to reopening libraries, whether they’re run by the county council or independently by community organisations, and we are grateful to all the voluntary and community groups who have shown such commitment to the library service and its future development.
“We have agreed in principle to transfer ownership of Up Holland Library to Artz for All and we’ll work closely with them towards the completion of this process so that people have access to another library complementing the statutory service operated by the county council.
“Up Holland Parish Council made a bid for the same building and this was a difficult decision to make because the two applications were very strong, and both presented excellent options for a library and community services.
“We could only accept one of them but I would like to thank the parish council very much for the time and effort they have put into their application.”