Library cuts planned in Wales and Lincolnshire

Library cuts planned in Wales and Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire and Powys are the latest councils to come under the spotlight for planned cuts to their public library service.

North East Lincolnshire Council's latest cost-cutting plan could see four closed completely one day a week, according to the Grimsby Telegraph.

NELC's Cabinet intends to look into a series of proposals to in a bid to save money. It will also consider an option to reduce library opening times as well as one-day-a-week closures. Each of the libraries under threat - Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Immingham and Waltham libraries - are currently open for 59 hours a week. 

The review is part of the local authority's plans to deliver a "sustainable future for libraries in North East Lincolnshire". 

Councillor Jane Hyldon-King, portfolio holder with responsibility for libraries, said: “We’re committed to keeping our libraries open and providing the best service we can for residents across North East Lincolnshire. However, people are changing the way they access the library services and what they access when they are there.

"Overall there have been small declines in the numbers of people visiting the library, but there has been an increase at the new Immingham library and in the numbers of people accessing libraries for arts activities and for digital services. We need to provide a modern-day library service that makes the best use of the decreasing budget available. The proposals will enable the service to deliver the savings required from April 2018".

Meanwhile, Powys County Council is also looking at cost-cutting measures in a bid to make £250,000 worth of savings by 2019, the Shropshire Star has reported. The cuts mean 11 libraries are under threat with the suggestion of making them into "community partnerships" in order to keep them running. The council has said it has a shortfall of £100,000 this year, and £150,000 next year. 

In Newport, library opening hours have fallen by 22% over the past years, according to new figures which revealed the city’s libraries were open for 16,688 hours in the 2015-2016 financial year. This fell by 22% the following year to 12,963 hours overall.

The statistics also revealed that the council’s budget for library services fell by 10% from £1.05m in 2015-2016 to £942,000 the next year. According to the South Wales Argus, this is the lowest libraries budget in the whole of Wales.

However, the report also showed that the number of people visiting the city’s libraries had increased by 320%, from 14 people per 1,000 to 59 per 1,000.