Battle council discusses library cuts consultation

Battle Library SUS-160801-094941001
Battle Library SUS-160801-094941001

Battle councillors discussed their response to county’s consultation on library opening hours at a meeting on Tuesday (January 20).

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) opened a public consultation on cutting library’s opening times on Monday, January 11.

Battle Town Council decided to formulate a collective response as an organisation and agreed with county councillor Kathryn Field’s suggestion of later opening.

She acknowledged hours needed to be cut but thought they should be changed to open and close later so people who worked and students could use its internet facilities.

Cllr Glenna Favell said: “I very much support the idea to change hours to allow children to do homework.”

And Cllr Andrew Ratcliffe: “Not everybody’s got access to internet and I know from having two children that all their homework needs internet access.

“So, if it was open after school that would be great.”

Battle Library’s times would be reduced by 10 hours if ESCC’s proposals go through.

In comparison, Rye Library’s times may be cut by 12-and-a-half hours.

Mayor Margaret Kiloh said the most common use of the library was returning books but it has so many more services, including the computers, audio books and holding classes encouraging children to use it.

She said the response should ‘stress the importance of the library as a community asset providing all kinds of services’.

Cllr Claire Davies said she grew up in a library and knows the importance it has within the community.

She said it would be a shame to cut its opening hours but it is something that is always being done to save money.

ESCC is proposing to reduce opening hours across all 24 of its libraries by around 25 per cent on average, in a bid to reduce library running costs by around £500,000.

This would help towards the library service’s savings target of £2m over the next three years, according to the local authority.

The consultation will last for 12 weeks, with residents urged to tell the authority how they use the library and the impact the proposed changes will have on them.

To comment on the proposals, visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay or pick up a questionnaire from the library.

The consultation will close on Sunday, April 3.

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