Evening and weekend opening cut at libraries

EFFORTS are underway to keep libraries in Warwickshire open in the evenings after new opening times were announced as a result of budget cuts.

Hours were shortened in attempts to save more than £2 million in Warwickshire County Council’s library network. This week results of public votes on new hours were announced.

In new opening times starting on April 1 Leamington library will be the only one opening on a Sunday or into the evenings on weekdays.

Leamington town council is paying for a six-month trial to open Lillington library until 6pm on Mondays and 7pm on Thursdays.

Cllr Sarah Boad (Lib Dem, Leamington Crown) said: “We’re very pleased that for the first six months there will ony be a four-hour reduction. It should mean anyone can use it after school and we’ll be able to help people coming home from work as well.”

The county council had proposed cutting opening hours at Lillington to 20 hours a week and 15 hours a week at Whitnash, but retreated because the libraries were used by other authorities and services. Cllr Boad added it was vital to ensure people used the libraries to prevent them being the victim of future cuts.

Whitnsh mayor and district councillor Judy Falp said she hoped to meet some 13 volunteers soon to set up a ‘friends of Whitnash library’ group.

The Franklin Road library will be closed on Wednesdays and Cllr Falp said she hoped this would mean community groups could use it.

She said: “The only thing I’m disappointed about is there’s no opportunity for late opening. For those if us who work it’s more difficult to use the library.”

Libraries in Kineton and Harbury will no longer be run by the county council, but will remain part of the library network. Warwick library was not included in the recent consultation because its future opening hours have been changed to match those of Shire Hall.

Cllr Colin Hayfield, who is responsible for libraries, said: “We took the decision that our customers will decide the opening hours of the libraries, and thanks to the thousands of responses we have received we believe we are meeting the needs of the communities with the new opening hours.”

New opening hours for libraries

• Leamington: Mon to Weds, Fri 9.30am to 6pm; Thurs 10am to 7pm, Sat 9.30am to 4.30pm; Sun noon to 4pm.

• Lillington: Mon 9.30am to 12.30pm; 1.30pm to 4.30pm; Tues, Thurs, Fri 9.30am to 12.30pm; 1.30pm to 5.30pm; Sat, 9.30am to 12.30pm.

• Southam: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm; Sat 9.30am to 12.30pm.

• Wellesbourne: Mon 9.30am to 12.30pm; Weds 9.30am to 12.30pm; 1.30pm to 5.30pm; Sat 9.30am to 12.30pm

• Whitnash: Mon to Weds 10.30am to 5pm; Fri 10.30am to 4pm; Sat 10.30am to 1.30pm.