'We must really fight' to keep Hartlepool library ahead of talks over its future
Community leaders have vowed to fight to keep a library ahead of upcoming talks over its future.
Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs are to launch a consultation over the future of services provided by community hubs in the town for the next five years.
This will include looking at libraries and officers have said an “options appraisal” for the future of the Seaton facility, in Station Lane, will form part of the discussion.
In response, councillors on the adult and community based services committee stressed the importance of library services being retained.
Councillor Sue Little, Seaton ward representative, said: “It’s one of the highly used libraries within the town, a lot of our elderly population now are using that as their base in Seaton.
“It’s an asset that we can’t really get rid off in Seaton, and we need to really, really, really fight and keep it because that’s the only community hub we’ve got in Seaton.”
She added many children’s activities are held at the library and she wants to see more community activities there.
Cllr Amy Prince said libraries are the “last place left in society” where people are not expected to spend money and the Seaton site is a “hub” of the community.
According to council reports, the Seaton library building is in need of an estimated £220,000 of investment and renovation.
Gemma Ptak, assistant director for preventative and community based services, said: “Seaton library remains a challenge.
“We’re going to pick that up as part of this programme to understand what the future model of that particular asset can look like and ensure that’s well informed through engagement.”
She added the consultation is about how they use council assets and ensuring everything is “really fit for purpose”.
The programme of engagement will start in November and include face-to-face sessions, focus groups and paper questionnaires.
It will take place in two six-week blocks, allowing officers the opportunity to analyse feedback and make amendments, before final consultation early next year.
There are currently three community hubs, North, Central and South, in Hartlepool, and branch libraries at Throston, Seaton and Headland.