Changes ahead for local library opening hours

Community News
Community News

Public consultation is under way on proposals that would cut Lisburn City Library’s weekly opening hours from 57 to 54.

However, under the same proposals, Libraries NI hopes to increase the opening hours at outlying libraries, including Moira and Finaghy.

The changes to the opening hours are being proposed in response to the Draft Budget for 2015-2016, which has called for savings to be made.

Opening hours at Moira Library could increase from 18 to 35 hours a week and Finaghy Library could increase to 50 hours a week.

Meanwhile, the hours at Colin Glen and Crumlin Libraries are likely to remain unchanged at 40 hours and 18 hours respectively.

Public consultation on the proposed revised opening hours began on February 18 and will continue until April 17.

The Consultation Report suggests public libraries across Northern Ireland continue to be categorised into bands based on level of use.

The proposal is that libraries in Band One would open for 54 hours per week; those in Band Two would open for 50 hours per week; those in Band Three would open for 45 hours per week; those in Band Four would open for 40 hours per week; those in Band Five would open for 35 hours per week; those in Band Six would open for 28 hours per week; those in Band Seven would open for 25 hours per week; and libraries in Band Eight would be open for 18 hours per week.

Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, said: “Reducing opening hours is very difficult for our customers and our staff and the Board of Libraries NI deeply regrets having to take this course of action.

“We will consult openly with people during this process and we are inviting people to engage with us regarding the policy and proposals.

“In all of our actions we want to be fair to customers, to libraries and to our staff.”