Changes in library opening times in cash saving move

editorial image

Wakefield Council is making changes to some library opening hours on June 4 following a public consultation.

The council needs to reduce the opening hours at some of the district’s libraries to contribute to £300,000 of savings identified for libraries in this year’s budget.

Following the consultation hours at some libraries, including some late night openings, will be reduced as residents have previously said they’d prefer this to the alternative of permanently closing some libraries.

The changes will mean that:

Airedale library - closed on Thursday.

Castleford library - closes at 5pm on Thursday.

Featherstone library - closes Friday at 1pm and Monday at 6pm.

Pontefract library - closes on Wednesday at 6pm.

Normanton library - closes on Tuesday at 6pm.

South Elmsall library - closes on Monday at 6pm.

Coun Jacquie Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Wakefield Council, said: “It has been necessary to make changes as the financial challenge facing the Council is huge and we need to save money from our annual libraries’ service budget.

“We have found ways so we can make these savings by keeping reductions in library opening hours to a minimum and still providing the services that residents need.”

This year the Council needs to save £28m, this is on top of the £171m that has already been cut from the Council’s budget since 2011.

The changes will create more consistency across similar sized libraries at times when visitor numbers are at their lowest.

As part of the changes alterations are being made to the mobile library service, with stops less than a mile from branch library no longer being offered. People with mobility issues, who currently use the mobile service within a mile of a branch, are being contacted and they will be able to access the council’s home library service.

For details of the new library opening hours, starting on June 4, visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/libraries. For information on the mobile library routes ring 01924 302210.

The council is also consulting residents for their views on proposed changes to the opening hours of Hemsworth Library, as part of the budget savings.

People are being asked to give their feedback on proposals to close Hemsworth Library for an additional half a day each week, and to close the library at 6pm on Thursdays, instead of 7pm, when fewer people use the service.

People can take part online at www.wakefield.gov.uk/libraries or by completing a questionnaire available at all council libraries until Tuesday, May 29.