Petition over library opening hours cuts

Cllr Gail Turner outside Selston library.
Cllr Gail Turner outside Selston library.

A COUNCILLOR has launched a petition in protest against the opening hours being halved at the two libraries in Selston and Jacksdale.

Selston councillor Gail Turner presented a petition of 628 signatures at a council meeting yesterday.

Nottinghamshire County Council announced this week that after a mass of complaints from members of the public, they will not reduce the opening hours at the county’s smaller libraries as much as much as initially planned.

But Cllr Turner said the hours are still being halved, and the council has not done enough.

“They are trying to say ‘we’ve listened’ but the fact of the matter is, it’s just not enough.

“We haven’t got much here and it’s vital the libraries are kept open. We are still having our hours cut by half. I am perturbed about it.

“Libraries are more than just a book lending service,” she said. “They are meeting places, especially for older members of the community.

“They are places where children can have access to information to do their homework.

“They are vital for mums with toddlers because it’s in these early years that the value of reading and learning to read is established.”

The council has this week ploughed £70,000 back into the budget, meaning Selston library opening hours will now go from 31 and a half hours per week to 16 instead of 10 as initially planned, and Jacksdale library will go from 22 hours per week to 11, instead of 10.

Last month we revealed concerns raised by resident Ray Bamford about the proposed cuts at Eastwood and Kimberley libraries which seemed to suggest they were suffering worse than other areas.

But they fall into the medium-sized library category – meaning they will still have their opening hours slashed by almost 40 per cent as originally planned.

The larger libraries in the county will be reduced by up to 20 per cent.

The council needs to find £86m worth savings over the next three years.

The council’s original budget proposal was for the county’s 28 small libraries, to have their opening hours reduced to between eight and 10 hours a week.

The extra £70,000 will pay for 22 of the 28 libraries to be open slightly longer.

County councillor John Cottee, cabinet member for Culture and Community, said: “At a time when many other local authorities are closing libraries, we’ve been listening to the feedback we’ve been getting from the public and our stakeholder groups during our widespread budget consultations over the past few months.

“And it’s clear, particularly with the smaller libraries, that they are pivotal to the communities they serve.”