North Lanarkshire libraries to close after council cuts
Seven community centres and four libraries are to close in North Lanarkshire after £400,000 of council budget cuts.
The number of mobile libraries in the council will also be reduced from five to three.
The authority said it was the result of "necessary" cuts to Culture NL - the arms-length body which manages arts and entertainment venues for the council.
Funding for Culture NL has been reduced by a third to £1.072m.
North Lanarkshire Council said "detailed customer data" showed the 11 facilities earmarked for closure - from a total of 98 - were "little-used".
Culture NL chief executive Jillian Ferrie said: "We have no option but to make these service reductions. We face cost pressures and a reduction in management fee from the council.
"That means we have to make savings and the board has taken the difficult choice of closing facilities that are not as well used as others by our communities.
"At the same time, however, we will be asking our customers what they want from their libraries and community facilities in the future and we will respond to that feedback."
Closures in detail
From August 2016, the organisation will no longer provide community facilities in:
- Bargeddie Hall
- Coshneuk Hall
- Harthill Senior Citizens Centre
- Springhill Community Centre
- Mossend Senior Citizens Centre
- Watson Street OAP Hut in Motherwell
- Whifflet Community Centre
The community libraries closing are:
- Old Monkland
Ms Ferrie said she was "hopeful" Culture NL could avoid compulsory redundancies. The organisation also faces additional cost pressures of about £450,000.
"The services we offer across our remaining libraries and community facilities will continue to be of the highest quality and we will be explaining to all our customers their options so that they can continue to access those services," she added.
Staff briefings will take place this week, along with a four-week public consultation on the future of library and community facilities in the council area.
Culture NL chairwoman, Councillor Heather McVey, said: "We realise that many of these facilities will be much-loved, however the reality is that they are little-used.
"It's about getting the balance right to ensure that our library service remains sustainable - for example, we've recently invested in new or refurbished library provision at the Houldsworth Centre, Cleland, and also in Newmains.
"These are hugely difficult decisions but it's important that we don't take those decisions in isolation but that we ask our service users what kind of service they would like in the future."