UK Libraries Under Attack

Nottinghamshire council is lopping 75% of its £1.6m annual book budget for libraries and cutting opening hours at close to half its 60 libraries, a Nottingham Post report states. Over 80 full-time equivalent posts are set to go at the library service, as the 28 libraries with fewer than 35,000 visits per week are turned into "community partnership" libraries open eight to 10 hours per week in a bid to save £3.3m over four years.

Meanwhile two libraries and the mobile service could go in Warrington, says the Warrington Guardian. The council is considering the move, together with cutting back on its reference books, in a bid to save £180,000. Martin Gaw, head of the library service, told the newspaper: "The option is not an attractive one for any of us but we all know the circumstances we are in."

20 Leeds libraries could be axed as part of a shake-up of the library service. As reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, under proposals, 20 of the city's smaller libraries could be closed, from a current network of 53. The council is to consult over the next few months before a final decision is taken next year.

Richmond council is also to consult on its libraries, according to a report in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

Hertfordshire has begun a consultation on efficiency savings, proposing a cutback of a third in library opening hours in a bid to avoid closures, according to a BBC report.

Council leader Robert Gordon said he planned "to stagger opening hours so that, even when your most local library is closed, another relatively local one will be open."

Meanwhile Cornwall Council is set to discuss budget proposals today (27th October) involving potentially radical cuts to its library service. A document leaked to the BBC last week suggested the proposals could reduce Cornwall's service to as few as "nine key locations", with a potential 60 posts made redundant.

Five staff members are likely to go in the West Sussex library service, according to a report in The Argus.

Other staff posts could suffer demotion, as part of a proposed restructure aimed at saving £318,000 a year.

Fifty-eight full-time equivalent jobs are set to go at Hampshire library service, amid further cuts and protests about threats to library services. However, no libraries will be closed, and opening hours will be increased in some libraries so that they no longer close at lunchtimes. The latest Discovery Centre, in Basingstoke, will open on 30th November.

In Harrow's library service 34 jobs  are going following a restructure caused in part by the introduction of self-service machines, according to a report in the Harrow Observer. Eleven libraries will be affected by the job losses.

Oldham's libraries are to have a 25% funding cut over the next five years, according to a report in the Oldham Chronicle.

In Lewisham there is a proposal to close five libraries.

Comments