Telford libraries face cuts to hours

Opening times could be slashed at Telford's nine libraries to save more than £330,000, it emerged this afternoon.

Telford libraries face cuts to hours

Opening times could be slashed at Telford's nine libraries to save more than £330,000, it emerged this afternoon.

Cash-strapped Telford & Wrekin Council says to keep all the libraries open it costs more than £260 an hour in staff wages, fuel bills and cleaning costs. Officials say unless other funding can be secured the buildings will not stay open as long in the future.

The libraries are in Telford town centre, Wellington, Oakengates, Newport, Hadley, Stirchley, Donnington, Dawley and Madeley.

The borough council is now approaching parish councils for money to bridge the gap but bosses were turned away by councillors in Donnington at a meeting last night after asking for more than £7,000.

Councillor Arnold England, borough council cabinet member for leisure, said the library service needed to save £330,000 as part of £40 million cuts across the board by 2014.

"We have carefully looked at library usage and are now consulting on proposals for our five neighbourhood libraries – Dawley, Donnington, Hadley, Oakengates and Stirchley – to open a minimum of 16 hours a week," he added.

"Newport and Madeley libraries will open 35 hours per week and Telford and Wellington libraries will open 46 hours per week reflecting current demand.

"A final decision on the future opening hours of all libraries will be made by the council in March following full consultation."

Donnington Library could have its opening hours reduced from 21 hours a week to 16. But Lilleshall, Donnington & Muxton Parish Council last night refused to stump up £7,279 to cover the shortfall.

Councillor Carol Baker said: "I don't think we should be asking our parishioners to pay for a library which is Telford & Wrekin's responsibility."

The borough's nine libraries are currently open for an average of just over 32 hours a week each.

Telford Library is open for 49-and-a-half hours, Wellington's for 42-and-a-half hours and Oakengates for 42 hours.

Newport is open for 38-and-a-half hours, Hadley 27 hours, Stirchley 27 hours, Donnington 21 hours, Dawley 21 hours and Madeley 20-and-a-half hours.

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