Lancashire County Council has listened to the feedback received during the public consultation and changed a number of the recommendations on how local libraries’ opening hours could be allocated across the week in future.
The revised proposal, in response to the feedback received, will be considered by the county council’s cabinet at its meeting on Thursday 8 March.
An eight-week consultation ran from Monday 2 October until Sunday 26 November. Views on the proposal were sought from library users and partner organisations to inform the final recommendation.
The consultation asked for comments on the way opening hours are allocated across the week. Responses were generally positive with suggestions from library users including that it would be better to close their local library on a different day.
In these circumstances the day of closure has been changed wherever possible.
Overall the proposal means that libraries across the county will be open for more hours in total than at present.
A 24/7 virtual digital online service is also available providing a downloadable library of fiction and non-fiction in both eBook and eAudio format.
A range of subscription reference resources are also available to all library members.
These support homework, study and provide information including news, local history, business, music, government publications and general encyclopaedias and dictionaries.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We ran a consultation on the opening hours following on from our decision in July to reopen libraries which had previously closed.
“People have helpfully shared their views with us on their preferred days and times for their library to be open. We’ve amended a number of the proposals so that the hours that the libraries are open fit with when local library users want to be able to use them whenever possible.
“We are very keen to make sure that the service provided to our customers is as streamlined and efficient as possible. The overall proposal means that libraries will be open for more hours in total across the county at a reduced overall cost. We designed the model according to when we know they’re most used, in order to better meet the demand with the resources we have. There will be no difference in the quality of service between bands.
“I would like to thank everyone who completed the questionnaires and shared their views with us.”
Each library has been allocated to one of four different bands depending upon local need, so that the library opening hours are proportionate to the population that each library is serving:
Band One – Open for 50 hours over six days every week
Band Two – Open for 42 hours over six days every week
Band Three – Open for 34 hours over five days every week
Band Four – Open for 18 hours over four days every week
The recommendations apply to the 47 libraries currently open. The recommendations should be implemented from 1 July 2018, following a period of staff consultation.
More information about the recommended changes to library opening hours is available at www.lancashire.gov.uk/council/get-involved/consultations/library-opening-hours.