Still no details of the consultation, but Essex County Council have now published the papers for their next Cabinet meeting which will discuss reduced hours of opening for libraries and other cuts (pdf file) – including 21 staff – to save nearly £2m a year from the libraries budget.

A further paper indicates how many hours will be cut from each library. Of local interest:

Colchester Central Library: Currently open for 67.5 hours a week, will reduce to 59 (a reduction of 8.5)
Greenstead Library: Currently 38, reducing to 34 (reduction of 4)
Prettygate: Currently 47, reducing to 34 (reduction of 13)
Stanway: Remains at 16 hours per week
West Mersea: Remains at 23 hours per week
Wivenhoe: Remains at 19 hours per week

As far as I can see, there’s been no consultation on these reductions and the consultation that will take place will be entirely on how you want these reductions in opening hours to take place, not whether you want them to happen at all.

I’m off to find out more, but please let me know what you think about these reductions using the comments.


4 comments untill now

  1. Yes the public consultation is for the pattern of opening hours not the amount of opening hours which isn’t up for consultation. I think Essex needs to be praised in their handling of this by not closing any static library and maintaining a mobile library presence in all the communities they currently serve. Unlike other local authorities which are closing down libraries to save money, Essex is offering different patterns of opening hours and altering some staffing levels (not frontline staff) to make the required savings. It is easy to extend opening hours when funding is available in the future of existing libraries but it would be extremely difficult, or very near impossible to re-open a library that had been closed.

  2. Richard T @ 2011-02-02 08:58

    Not mine – I’m afraid I pinched it but Essex have achieved the Book Lack in Ongar then.

  3. I’m also really impressed by the way ECC are handling the process. They have shown a commitment to the library service that is to be commended. It is all too easy to criticise, but I think in this case, they are making the best of a difficult situation.

  4. Down in Rochford District we are facing:

    Great Wakering – reduce from 19 to 16 hours per week
    Hockley – reduce from 44 to 34 hours per week
    Hullbridge – a relatively big reduction from 30 to 16 hours per week
    Rayleigh – from 62 to 48 hours per week
    Rochford – from 54 to 34 hours per week

    With the exception of Great Wakering , our libraries are facing cuts in hours well above the 16 percent average…