All Powys libraries are to remain open
All Powys libraries will remain open but their operating hours will be reduced next year to save money, the council's decision-making cabinet has agreed.
All branch libraries will be maintained in their current locations but the council will seek opportunities to co-locate the libraries with other council or community facilities in the area.
The decision will also mean that the mobile library service will be maintained, including all existing routes and stops, but the two-weekly service will be replaced with a four-weekly service.
The county council is looking is cut library service costs by £350,000 in the next financial year as part of moves to reduce overall council spending.
Option B in the consultation would have seen up to 11 branch libraries closing, with the mobile service increased to stop at locations where libraries had closed and the introduction of a housebound service for people unable to travel to a library.
Option C would have seen the closure of up to five branch libraries, the discontinuation of the mobile service and the introduction of the housebound service.
Option D would have retained the service at the current level but it would not have allowed the council to meet its savings target.
Cabinet Member for Library Services, Councillor Graham Brown said he believed the report was very positive in that no libraries would be closing.
"Nearly 2,000 people responded to our consultation and 71 per cent supported the option of reducing opening hours by 20 per cent.
"The opening hours changes will not delivery sufficient savings on its own and the council will have to change the mobile library service from a fortnightly operation to every four weeks. We will also investigating the possibility of co-locating some branch libraries with other council services or community operations.
The 20 per cent reduction in opening hours and mobile library changes will be introduced from April 1 next year after the recommendations were approved by the cabinet when it met on Tuesday.
"We will look at existing usage patterns within our libraries so that the reduction in hours can be implemented with as little impact as possible," added Councillor Brown.
Councillor Dai Davies said he was more than happy with the outcome. He said although everyone feels like the libraries have had a reprieve over the next six years there would be some huge financial challenges and more savings will need to be made.
Councillor Darren Mayor said he felt it was important to celebrate the fact that even within the tight controls of the council's budget, they had reduced the hours but are still maintaining the library service.
Councillor Wynne Jones, the leader of Powys Independent Alliance and Chairman of the People Scrutiny Committee, said the scrutiny committee met on Monday and feels that they would have liked to see a redesign of the library service to take the council through to 2020, rather than the current proposals which only take the council forward to 2016.
Councillors yesterday agreed to implement a reduction in opening hours and the frequency of mobile library visits from April 1 and to look at opportunities of co-locating libraries with other facilities.
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