RESIDENTS concerned about the possible closure of a community library have been thrown a lifeline — thanks to a school.

Headteacher of Sharples High School, Lynne Porter, has suggested the school’s library could be opened to the community if Bolton Council decides to axe Astley Bridge library.

The idea was first mooted as part of plans to rebuild the high school under the now scrapped Building Schools For The Future (BSF) programme.

Bolton Council will now remodel the school.

Speaking at the Astley Bridge area forum, Mrs Porter said: “As a school that was part of BSF, one of the key areas we were looking at was more use of our school premises for the community. We had within our plans suggested opening our building and library facilities.

“Is there any interest in the community to look at this again, if this library does close? It would be an opportunity for the school and community to work together and look at what we can do to keep this provision.”

Ward Cllr Hilary Fairclough, added: “There may be issues with funding, but we would look at that. We are very grateful to the offer from the school.

“Our ideal would be keeping this library open though.”

But there were concerns that having a back-up option could affect the campaign to keep open the library.

Cllr John Walsh said: “We shouldn’t be diluting our efforts.

We should be looking at extending those services, not reducing them.”

Astley Bridge Library in Moss Bank Way is one of nine libraries threatened with closure to save £400,000 to £500,000 in the library service.

Libraries are being assessed on criteria ranging from their proximity to other libraries to the condition of the building.

Thousands of residents have objected to the closures, with 1,500 people signing a petition and 300 people attending a read-in at Astley Bridge Library alone. A consultation on the future of the libraries ended last month and a report is due to be completed in July.