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Six Nottinghamshire libraries to be refurbished to become ‘village hubs’

Six community libraries in Nottinghamshire will receive upgrades in the coming year to turn them into ‘village hubs’.

Libraries in Bircotes, Bilsthorpe, Blidworth, Burton Joyce, Langold and Woodthorpe will benefit from the improvement, with Nottinghamshire County Council receiving £170,000 from the Government and the Arts Council.

Works will include upgrades to the public computer and library networks during 2022, while the six libraries will be refurbished and established as ‘hubs’ for the community between now and March next year.

The authority adds Stapleford, Sutton-in-Ashfield and Kirkby-in-Ashfield libraries will also receive investment through the Government’s Towns Fund to provide learning facilities to residents.

Councillor John Cottee, the county council’s portfolio holder for communities, confirmed the news during the cabinet meeting on Thursday (May 26).

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He said: “One of the important things from a library point of view is that we have six new village hubs that are due to be improved, with £170,000 [coming] from the Department for Culture, Media and Support and the Arts Council.

“Those villages are Bircotes, Bilsthorpe, Blidworth, Burton Joyce, Langold and Woodthorpe, with libraries all getting upgrades this year to make them into community hubs.

“This is even more so than they are now.”

During the meeting, Cllr Cottee also reaffirmed the Conservative-led council’s stance that it will not be closing any of its 60 libraries during the remaining three years of the administration.

The authority has previously said it may relocate some community libraries into other buildings in the same area, but has regularly stated no libraries are due to close their doors.

It follows concerns raised by some Independent Alliance councillors that the authority could plan to relocate Hucknall Library into the new £15 million Top Wighay Farm offices – claims repeatedly played down by the Tories.

Cllr Cottee again said this will not be the case, telling cabinet members: “We aren’t closing any and I just thought I’d mention that.”

Cllr Kate Foale, leader of the Labour group, added: “I’m really glad you’re not closing any libraries.”

The library refurbishments come as the authority marks six years since it began running library services alongside its partner organisation Inspire in April 2016.

Peter Gaw, chief executive of Inspire, said last week: “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved at Inspire over the last six years, providing essential access to reading, learning and culture even during a global crisis when we switched many of our activities to online delivery.

“Looking forward, I am excited about the role Inspire can play in supporting Nottinghamshire communities and the economy – providing spaces, new skills, business information and IT access, resources and many cultural and learning opportunities as possible.”

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