Cabinet to decide on consultation into library opening hours

LibraryRESIDENTS could be asked their views on proposed changes to library opening hours –  if council leaders approve a consultation.

Members of East Sussex County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to agree to a consultation on a reduction in opening hours when they meet on Tuesday, December 15.

Over the next three years the county council has to find savings of up to £90million, with a £2million savings target identified for the library service over the same period.

It is expected that reducing library opening hours by about 25 per cent will reduce running costs by £500,000 a year.

“When drawing up these proposals, we have given careful consideration to when and how all of our libraries and services are used,” said Rupert Clubb, director for communities, economy and transport. “We have taken into account data which shows that vast majority of people visit libraries and use services between 10am and 5pm.

“Under these proposals, the buildings would be closed at quieter times but people will still be able to use libraries at varying times throughout the week, from Monday to Saturday.  Making changes to opening hours will mean we can continue to provide a comprehensive library service for residents across East Sussex.”

It is proposed that all libraries will only be open between the hours of 10am and 5pm. In addition, libraries that open later than 5.30pm would retain one evening opening until 6pm. Libraries which open on a Saturday, will continue to do so.

No changes would be made to the e-library service, which allows members to access e-books and e-audiobooks and a range of free online reference material 24 hours a day. Member and non-members will still be able to make enquiries online or by phone 24 hours a day.

The proposals are part of a proposed wider transformation programme for the county’s libraries, which will make sure that the council can respond to the changing need for library services and ensure East Sussex has a modern and sustainable library service into the future.

The full report to Cabinet can be found here