Li­brary open­ing times could be cut

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Andrew McNair

Li­brary open­ing times across the re­gion could soon be cut.

The coun­cil claims that due to “above av­er­age” staffing costs they hope to make the changes in a bid to pro­tect all eight of the re­gion’s fa­cil­i­ties.

If ap­proved, the move could lead to the loss of the equiv­a­lent of eight full-time jobs and to­tal li­brary hours across the re­gion would drop from 338.5 hours per week to 237.5 hours – al­most a third.

Coun­cil of­fi­cer Mal­colm Ben­nie said: “These pro­pos­als would pro­tect all eight branch li­braries in West Dun­bar­ton­shire and match open­ing hours to when our res­i­dents use the ser­vice the most.

“It would also bring our run­ning costs in line with the rest of Scot­land, and cre­ate the op­por­tu­nity for much-needed in­vest­ment in our li­braries to make them even more at­trac­tive places to visit.”

The re­port states the con­se­quence of spend­ing money staffing li­braries at these qui­eter times is that there are less funds avail­able to spend on im­prov­ing the ser­vice.

To re­solve this, they hope to in­tro­duce the new timetable that would open for 237 hours across the eight branches ev­ery week.

They also sug­gest the changes would “free up sav­ings which could be in­vested back into the ser­vice with an un­prece­dented £421k pro­posed in 2018/19 for im­proved chil­dren’s ar­eas, bet­ter dis­play ar­eas, more wel­com­ing help desks, and mov­able shelv­ing en­abling flex­i­ble use of space for ac­tiv­i­ties and events”.

The pro­pos­als will be pre­sented to the coun­cil’s cor­po­rate ser­vices com­mit­tee today on Novem­ber 29 next week and have al­ready an­gered one coun­cil­lor.

David McBride said: “This is un­ac­cept­able to all li­brary users in­clud­ing stu­dents and Job­seek­ers who rely on this ser­vice.”

Mean­while, coun­cil­lors at that meet­ing will also con­sider in­tro­duc­ing means tested charges to the mu­sic tuition ser­vice.

Un­der the pro­pos­als, pupils study­ing for SQA ex­ams and those in re­ceipt of free school meals would con­tinue to re­ceive free hire.

Those out with would be charged a £85 per year.

De­tained Jag­tar Singh Jo­hall

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