Spending review hits library opening hours

Glengormley Library. INNT 37-033-FP
Glengormley Library. INNT 37-033-FP

TWO local libraries have been hit by the province-wide Board of Libraries NI Review of Opening Hours.

The libraries in Ballyclare and in Rathcoole will see their current opening hours reduced following a public consultation carried out across Northern Ireland as a direct result of the savings requirements in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Following DCAL Minister Carál Ní Chuilín’s announcement of £2.39m additional funding to Libaries NI last week, the Libraries NI Board approved revised proposals arising from the Review of Opening Hours.

“The additional money eases the financial pressure on Libraries NI and means that library opening hours do not need to be reduced to the same level as originally proposed to meet savings targets resulting from the Comprehensive Spending Review,” said a Libraries NI spokesperson.

“The Board’s decision now means that all public libraries across Northern Ireland are categorised into one of six bands based on level of use: (Band 1) 57 hours per week; (Band 2) 48 hours per week; (Band 3) 40 hours per week; (Band 4) 30 hours per week; (Band 5) 25 hours per week; and (Band 6) 18 hours per week.”

As a result of the Review, Band 3 Ballyclare Library which used to be open 44 hours a week will now open 40 hours. Meanwhile, Rathcoole Library, also in Band 3, which had at one stage been staring at a 14-hour reduction in opening hours from 44 down to 30 has, following the Review, had its opening times cut by 4 hours to 40.

Glengormley Library and Cloughfern Library have both emerged unscathed in this Review process. At one stage it was looking like Band 1 Glengormley Library’s hours would be cut from 57 down to 40. However, this has turned out not to be the case and the library will continue to operate 57 hours a week.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...