The Emsworth Library will stay open following a successful campaign by MP Alan Mak and local Councillors in partnership with the local community, it was confirmed by Hampshire County Council (HCC) yesterday (Monday 28 July).
At the key HCC decision day, the HCC Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, Cllr Sean Woodward, confirmed the Council's recommendation to keep open the Emsworth Library at a new location.
It comes after a consultation by the Council, where they earmarked Emsworth Library as one of 10 around the county for complete closure. That was due to the high rent of the building in the town centre currently used to house the Library previously agreed by HCC.
But following the consultation by HCC on the potential closure an energetic political and community campaign was launched. This included a meeting between Mr Mak, the Emsworth Councillors and Cllr Woodward, as well as efforts by local community groups to secure a new location and putting a case forward to HCC for keeping the library open.
The confirmation means Emsworth Library will stay open, moving to a new site with lower costs at the Emsworth Community Centre. Initially it will be staffed by professional HCC librarians, with the option for additional hours provided by volunteers.
Mr Mak said: “I’m delighted by the decision from Hampshire County Council to keep open Emsworth Library, a goal I have been striving towards since February alongside local councillors and residents. This included writing letters to HCC, responding to the consultation and meeting Cllr Sean Woodward personally to lobby him on behalf of residents.
“With the confirmation that the Library is staying open, I look forward to working with residents to ensure that they can make a success of its new location at the Emsworth Community Centre.”
Picture: Alan Mak MP with local councillors and Cllr Sean Woodward, HCC Cabinet member with responsibility for libraries (picture from before Coronavirus)