Opening hours set to be cut at city library

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Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has reacted angrily to proposals by Libraries NI to reduce opening hours at Lisburn City Library.

Lisburn City Library at Linenhall Street only opened ten years ago but could have its hours cut for the second time in a year.

The opening hours at Lisburn City Library could be reduced by nine hours per week, from 54 to 45 hours, under the new proposals that could be in place by November this year.

It is one of 14 libraries throughout Northern Ireland that will be affected.

Mr Donaldson said, “I am bitterly disappointed at this because Lisburn City Library is one of the busiest and most widely used libraries in Northern Ireland.

“I will be writing to Libraries NI to express my total and utter disappointment at the plans. I want to know not only what other libraries will be affected but I will be asking if they have the same level of high usage as Lisburn.

“I don’t understand the rationale behind this as there was a lot of money pumped into this new state of the art library when it opened.”

Lisburn City Library at Linenhall Street opened a decade ago and at the time was at the top of Northern Ireland’s lending league.

A public consultation will be held about the new plans from May 17 to July 17. Lisburn City Library had already had its hours reduced in October last year. Finaghy Library which will also be affected had its hours increased from 48 to 50 last year. The hours will now be reduced by five hours from 50 hours to 45 hours.

Chief Executive of Libraries NI Irene Knox said: “This is not the ideal situation, however, we must plan for and consider our budget.

“We will continue to liaise with staff, customers and stakeholders throughout this process and we will listen to any concerns raised.

“People are invited to complete a questionnaire which can be got at www.librariesni.org.uk.” Other libraries affected will include Ballymena, Bangor, Carnegie, Belfast Central, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Derry Central, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Glengormley, Lurgan, Newry and Omagh.