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Labour proposes to slash library opening hours in Newcastle

January 21, 2016 8:15 PM

The Liberal Democrats have opposed closures and proposed alternatives to the deprivation of access to books and other sources of information as the Labour Party proposes to reduce customer service centre and library opening hours across a number of sites. .

Gosforth, East End, West End, Kenton, Walker and Outer West libraries will all be pruned to 23 hours per week with other core libraries open 18.5 hours per week.

Gosforth Library has to date had the second longest opening hours in the City (after the Central Library) because opening hours were extended in 2008 to reflect the 8:30am opening time of Customer Services which used to be co-located in the building.

East End Library is currently open 58 hours a week and is facing a similar reduction in opening hours.

The Council says "As all of the budget savings are based on staffing reductions we have found that the only way to achieve the required saving is to standardise the total number of opening hours depending on the category of the library with core libraries, which includes Gosforth, open the same number of hours a week. We can't have all the buildings open on the same day because we will no longer have to staff to cover them. We need the buildings to be open at different times so that staff can work across more than one building.

"We need to standardise opening hours to create a flexible staffing model which works across the whole network so with most libraries currently open different number of hours a week it wasn't possible to reduce hours proportionally. In some respects this could be seen as a fair way of apportioning the reductions but quite understand that as Gosforth has had longer opening hours than any other library apart from the City Library, it can be seen as talking the biggest hit."

The opening times for East End Library will also be the opening times for the Customer Service Centre in East End when it collocates with the library.

There will be no change to the overall number of opening hours at the following partnership libraries (a partnership library is one in which the running costs of the building are met by another organisation):

· Blakelaw

· Cruddas Park

· Denton Burn

· High Heaton