Newtownabbey library opening hour reductions

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Libraries NI says it has “reluctantly” agreed to review library opening hours as a result of £2.385 million savings required by the Draft Budget for 2015/16.

While there will be no library closures, opening hours in librariies may be reduced or will operate with a different pattern.

A public consultation on the proposed revised opening hours will take place from February 18 to April 17 2015.

Under the proposals, Ballyclare library would retain its current 40 weekly opening hours.

Cloughfern library would remain open for the same 18 hour period each week, while Rathcoole library’s opening hours would decrease from the current 40 to 35. Glengormley library, whose hours were cut from 57 to 48 in November 2014, would open for 50 hours.

Chief Executive of Libraries NI Irene Knox said: “The Draft Budget for 2015/16 requires Libraries NI to save 7.5 per cent which equates to £2.385 million. Libraries NI was obliged to reduce opening hours temporarily in November 2014 at short notice when it was required to make in-year savings and we now need to regularise opening hours to ensure equity.

“Temporary opening hours will continue to apply until new hours are introduced in the autumn.

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

The proposal and survey questionnaires will be available in libraries and at www.librariesni.org.uk. A draft equality impact assessment and draft rural impact assessment will be available online.