Library opening hours slashed to make £270k saving

Aylesbury Library in Walton Street
Aylesbury Library in Walton Street

Library-goers will have less time to enjoy their favourite books after plans to cut library hours were pushed through – despite 65 per cent of people not supporting the move.

The library service budget for Bucks County Council was slashed by £270,000 in February.

Now, the cuts will start to be made as opening hours are reduced across the county’s libraries.

The decision was taken on Monday and details of the changes have been outlined in a report from library service manager, David Jones, to cabinet member for community engagement, Martin Phillips.

Mr Jones said the opening hour reductions were based on ‘reducing opening hours at periods of lowest usage’, and ‘complimentary patterns for libraries that are close to one another’.

He said ‘consistency’ was also key as the same reductions apply across all libraries – apart from Princes Risborough and Micklefield.

Feedback from more than 700 library users, during a six-week consultation period, found 65 per cent were against reducing opening hours.

However, 74 per cent of respondents said it would not stop them visiting the library.

Of the 716 respondents, 114 were from Aylesbury.

A key concern to arise from the consultation was that customers who worked could only visit in the evenings so restricted hours may stop them going altogether.

But the county council dismissed the concern because evenings are ‘low usage’ times and every library remains open for at least one evening a week.

Aylesbury Library will close half an hour earlier on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and will now shut at 2pm, rather than 7.30pm, on Thursdays. It will close an hour earlier on Saturdays and will remain completely closed on Sundays – a total reduction of eight-and-a-half hours a week.

Aylesbury Study Centre and Buckingham Library will also have their opening hours slashed by eight-and-a-half hours a week.

Opening hours at Great Missenden Library, Haddenham Library, Winslow Library, Long Crendon Library, and Wing Library will stay the same.

Changes to library opening hours are pre-publicised with a ‘minimum of three weeks’ notice’.

Visit your library website or ask at reception for a full rundown of opening hours.