THE future opening hours of 16 Warwickshire libraries have been decided - by the communities they serve.
A consultation conducted between November 14 and December 11 last year invited members of the public to choose between two sets of opening hours for libraries remaining in local authority control from April 1 this year.
These were based on known usage - visits and loans per hour, time and day - along with other relevant local factors such as market days or regular events.
The public were asked to decide on the opening hours of the following libraries:
The consultation questionnaires, which were available in all Warwickshire libraries and online, also contained a third ‘no preference’ option. There was also a space for people to add comments if they wished.
A total of 5,881 consultation responses were received countywide, 4,299 on paper and 1,582 online.
The votes have been counted and the most popular option, as chosen by each community, will be implemented on April 1, 2012. Until, then opening hours will stay as they are.
The overall reduction in opening hours across the library network will contribute to the service achieving target savings of more than £2 million.
Warwickshire County Council will continue to run 18 libraries after March 31 and is working closely with local groups to develop community libraries elsewhere. These should be open and operational by 1 April 2012.
Two council-run libraries, Warwick and Stockingford, were not included in the recent consultation because their future opening hours had already been decided - to match those of Shire Hall and the Stockingford Early Years Centre respectively.
More details on the new opening hours are available at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news
Cllr Colin Hayfield, Portfolio-holder for Customers, Access and Physical Assets, 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.”
Meanwhile, Warwickshire County Council continues to work closely with community groups around the county developing new community libraries. All of these should be open and operational by April 1, 2012.
The transformation of the Library and Information Service is a part of the general financial savings, where Warwickshire County Council must cut spending by more than £70 million over the next three years. As part of the savings plan, the Library and Information Service budget will reduce by £2 million.
NEW OPENING HOURS AT RUGBY LIBRARY
Rugby Option A