Have your say on library cuts

OPENING hours at Fenland libraries are set to be reduced under yet more cash cutting measures planned by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Local people are being asked to have their say on library opening times in the latest round of cost-cutting consultations launched this week.

The county council claims the move is set to transform library services to put communities at its heart while meeting tough savings targets.

And part of the measures is to look at rationalising opening hours across the county with the aim of making them more consistent and fair with libraries which serve communities of similar size opening for the same number of hours each week.

It also claims that some libraries will see opening hours extended but March, Wisbech and Chatteris are facing cuts with March suffering the biggest reduction.

The council claims specific proposals have been developed for each library, based on existing patterns of use, including times when they are particularly busy and that in some cases later opening hours have been axed in favour of maintaining the more heavily used Saturday opening.

March is currently open 51 hours a week, but if the proposals get the go-ahead these will reduce to 46 hours.

The cuts are in the later opening hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The library will also open half an hour later and close half an hour earlier .

It is currently open 9am to 5.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 9am to 8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9.30am to 4pm on Saturdays.

The changes will see it open 9.30am to 5pm daily except Thursdays when it will stay open until 7pm and on Saturdays it will be open 9.30am to 4pm.

Chatteris will lose two-and-a-half hours a week. It is currently open 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm on Monday and Tuesday; 10am to 1pm on Wednesday; 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm on Friday and 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 3.30pm Saturday. It is closed on Thursdays.

Under the proposals it will open 10am to 5pm Monday and Friday; 2pm to 5pm on Tuesdays, and 10am to 1pm on Wednesday and Saturday. It will be closed Thursdays.

Wisbech sees a cut of two hours. It currently opens 10am to 6pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 10am to 7pm Tuesday and 9am to 5pm on Saturday.

The proposal will see it open 9.30am to 5pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 9.30am to 7pm to Tuesday and 9.30am to 4pm on Saturday.

Users will still be able to use the County Council’s website to access library services 24 hours a day. The introduction of self service facilities in all libraries over the coming year will also provide potential for books to be borrowed outside of staffed hours in future.

People are being asked to have their say by completing a questionnaire tailored to each library and available from libraries.

You can also have your say online at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/libraries. The consultation ends on June 18.