Cuts to library hours looming on the horizon

Opening of Rye Library, 24/1/11'David Dorrell ENGSNL00120110124110949

Opening of Rye Library, 24/1/11'David Dorrell ENGSNL00120110124110949

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Rye Town Council is pushing to keep earlier library opening hours.

The council is responding to an East Sussex County Council consultation on library opening hours.

East Sussex County Council says it is facing some tough choices on spending, due to having to make savings of £90 million in the next three years, and this could include reducing library opening hours.

The proposals relating to Rye Library involve reducing the Monday opening hours from 9am - 5.30pm to 10am - 1pm and reducing the opening hours on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am - 5.30pm to 10am - 5pm.

The Wednesday hours would be from 10am - 4pm, rather than the current 10am - 5.30pm hours, while Saturday would be 10am - 5pm, instead of 9am - 5pm.

A new state-of-the-art library opened in Rye in 2011, in the old Woolworths building, having relocated from the Adult Education site at Lion Street.

The county council says the proposed cuts to library services could save £2 million in running costs and would involve an overall reduction of around 25 percent of current opening hours of libraries across the county.

A county council spokesperson said: “Libraries are not well used at all times of the day. Therefore, in order to lessen the impact, our proposals focus on reducing library opening hours at quieter times, before 10am and after 5pm.

“All libraries would continue to be open during the day at varying times throughout the week. Libraries will remain open on Saturdays.

Rye councillor Pat Hughes said: “Many people in Rye I have spoken to would like to see 9.30am opening rather than 10am. There are not many people who want to use the library after 4pm.”

Cllr Jo Kirkham said: “Early closing would prevent children coming out of school from going to the library to do research if they wanted to,”

But Cllr Hughes said: “These days children tend to race off home to use tablets and computers for their research, though I would love to see more local school children using the library.”

The council asked Cllr Hughes to put its views forward in the consultation, which started on January 8 and is running until April 3.

Local people can make their views known about the proposed changes to opening hours by visiting new.eastsussex.gov.uk. Paper copies of the survey can be picked up in local libraries.

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