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Closure threat for libraries in council cuts

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 12, 2014

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A LIBRARY is under threat of closure if no community groups can run it as a council struggles is forced to make £800,000 worth of cuts to its book lending service.

Measham Library, in High Street, is one of 36 of the ‘least used’ libraries in Leicestershire that could close if Leicestershire County Council cannot find volunteers to run it as a ‘community hub’.

The council has now launched a consultation running until July 7 for residents to have their say on the proposals.

From 2015, the council plans to save £800,000 per year from its current £5.6 million libraries budget claiming people are increasingly using E-books and the internet instead of borrowing books from libraries

Despite being one of the 16 most used libraries, Ashby Library has also not escaped the firing line and could see its opening hours reduced.

It already opens 35 hours a week from 9.30am to 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursday, 9.30am to 7pm on Fridays, and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

But under the consultation, the council is proposing to reduce the opening times to 31 hours a week, opening from 10am to 4pm Mondays and Fridays, 10am to 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10am to 3pm Saturdays.

Meanwhile, Measham Library already only opens three days a week, for a total for 17 hours.

Richard Blunt, the council’s cabinet member for libraries, said: “I’m encouraging people to have their say and to consider coming forward to run some of our libraries. This has proven a success in other areas, such as Warwickshire.

“If people are interested, we will give them massive support, as I believe these libraries could become real community hubs.”

Full details of the consultation are available by visiting www.leics.gov.uk/haveyoursay/futurelibraries

It also include dates and venues of public meetings in May and June.

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