LANCASHIRE County Council’s cabinet has approved a proposal to seek the public’s views on libraries’ opening hours could be allocated across the week in future.
At a meeting on Thursday (September 14) councillors gave the go-ahead for an eight-week consultation, from Monday, October 2 to Sunday, November 26, inviting library users, staff and partner organisations to give their views before a final decision early next year.
The proposal allocates each library to one of four different bands based on local need with opening hours that are proportionate to the population that each serves.
Each library has been allocated to one of these bands which will be set out in the consultation seeking comments on the way the opening hours are allocated across the week.
The new opening hours being proposed are based on visitor numbers to the library, and when they are used the most.
If the proposal goes ahead, libraries across the county will be open for more hours in total than currently.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “This proposal follows on from our decision in July to reopen libraries which had previously closed.
“We’re proposing changes to when libraries will be open and overall this would mean them being open for more hours in total across the county.
“We’ve designed the proposed model according to when we know they’re most used, with the aim of better meeting demand with the resources we have. There will be no difference in the quality of service between bands.
“I would encourage everyone involved to let us have their views.”
The four bands are as follows:
l Band one: Open for 50 hours over six days every week.
l Band two: Open for 42 hours over six days every week.
l Band three: Open for 34 hours over five days every week.
l Band four: Open for 18 hours over four days every week.
From Monday, October 2 the public will be able to give their views by filling in a printed questionnaire available at their local library or mobile library.
Alternatively they can go online at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay and click on ‘consultations’ then click on ‘library opening hours consultation.’