Libraries facing the axe as council needs to save £2m

SAVAGE cuts announced yesterday (Wednesday) could see the closure of two village libraries and cut opening hours at the Rugby branch.

Libraries in Dunchurch and Binley Woods have been earmarked for closure by Warwickshire County Council (WCC), whilst the opening hours at the main library in Rugby and the one in Wolston are likely to be reduced.

WCC announced the proposed cuts just before the Advertiser went to press yesterday. The council says it must cut £2 million of its £7.4 million library and information service budget. The cuts will help reduce its overall budget by about £60 million.

Cllr Colin Hayfield, portfolio holder for customers, workforce and partnerships, said: “We are reviewing the network of libraries and opening times, and we propose to consult with residents on the entire service between March and June this year. Final decisions will be made only after this process and we expect to have further details in July.”

Dunchurch and Binley Woods libraries are two of 16 buildings across Warwickshire that could close under the proposals. WCC said that they have been identified as being no longer ‘sustainable’ in their current form.

Cllr John Whitehouse, the Liberal Democrat chairman of the communities overview and scrutiny committee, said: “The closure of any library must be the last resort option on the table, and we need to stimulate the widest possible debate about more constructive alternatives.

“We urge individual residents and local communities to get involved fully in this consultation.”

For more on this story see next Thursday’s Advertiser.