Reduced opening times for libraries on the cards

The city's libraries, including Morley, will be discussed at a meeting next week.
The city's libraries, including Morley, will be discussed at a meeting next week.

Proposals regarding the future open hours of libraries in the city are set to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

At Leeds City Council’s executive board meeting on October 15, councillors will have the opportunity to discuss the most efficient way of maintaining vital library and information services in the city, in the context of the council’s budgetary challenges.

Results of a recent public consultation regarding possible changes will be discussed along with subsequent recommendations setting out proposed new opening hours, which if agreed, will commence on Monday December 1 2014. The network of 36 libraries is set to stay as it was and no library closures are proposed in the report.

As part of the public consultation, the council analysed how busy each library was hour by hour, and then listened to the views of a wide range of groups and organisations in order to try and find the best way forward to meet the needs of customers at each individual library.

Also involved in the consultation with library customers were local councillors, MPs, staff, schools and Parish Councils. Over 7,000 comments were received by the council, which highlighting how much residents care for their local libraries, provided a wide-range of opinions and views. Each comment was fully taken into account and played a fundamental part in determining what the proposed revised hours should be for each library.

This work forms part of the council’s continued ambitions to develop further its plans for a modern and sustainable service that will use new and innovative ways to improve both the customer experience and access to its libraries through engagement with schools, community groups and partners.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said: “Our Libraries offer a wide range of help, support and advice in our communities and it has been fantastic to see them move with the times and be as popular for digital access as they are for borrowing books. We have undertaken a far reaching public consultation as part of our review of opening hours at each council library, with the aim of offering the most efficient and best service to our customers in the context of budgetary pressures.

“We have listened to every comment submitted in the consultation, and subsequently tailored our final recommendations of the opening hours at each library to these responses in our proposals which I hope will be approved. Moving forward, we are continuing to investigate the possibilities of how new Community Hubs, which bring a range of local services under one roof, can work hand-in-hand with our libraries to improve further the service that we currently provide right across the city.”