Cuts to the opening times of libraries across Leeds are likely to be approved this week.
Leeds City Council’s Executive Board will debate a report at its meeting on Wednesday (15 October 2014) which proposes cuts of 12% across the city. The figure in South Leeds is slightly higher at 15% with Dewsbury Road library losing 7 hours per week; Beeston 8 and Hunslet 6 hours. Middleton library, in the St George’s Centre will be unaffected.
The changes will save the council £300,000 per year through cutting staff hours and come four years after a round of cuts that saw 14 libraries close including Holbeck. The report says the only alternatives to achieve savings are by closing libraries, closing the mobile library service or ceasing to buy new books.
The specific cuts to hours for each library have been put forward following an analysis of usage with closures targeted on quiet times of the week. The council say that 98% of current library users will be unaffected by the changes.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:
“Our Libraries offer a wide range of help, support and advice in our communities and it has been fantastic to see them move with the times and be as popular for digital access as they are for borrowing books. We have undertaken a far reaching public consultation as part of our review of opening hours at each council library, with the aim of offering the most efficient and best service to our customers in the context of budgetary pressures.
“We have listened to every comment submitted in the consultation, and subsequently tailored our final recommendations of the opening hours at each library to these responses in our proposals which I hope will be approved. Moving forward, we are continuing to investigate the possibilities of how new Community Hubs, which bring a range of local services under one roof, can work hand-in-hand with our libraries to improve further the service that we currently provide right across the city.”
If approved the changes will come into effect from 1st December. The new opening times will be:
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