Shropshire councillors agree to cut hours at 11 libraries across county
A cut to Shropshire's library hours has been agreed by councillors, who have also backed a move to close a village library.
Councillor Stuart West, Shropshire Council's cabinet member responsible for libraries said that the move would ensure that libraries could remain open.
He said: "They are mild savings not really affecting libraries to a great extent.
"We are keeping libraries open which is important and I think in general the response from the public has enabled us to put in operation a scheme for each individual library.
"Originally it was proposed to have a 68 hour reduction, through the consultation it has been reduced to 57 hours across 11 libraries.
"It is very important to recognise that library services are very important and it is important we do keep them open. I think what we have come up with in the review of opening hours is sensible."
Council leader Malcolm Pate said that co-operation town and parish councils and community groups was ensuring the library service is still available to the public.
He said: "I would like to thank the parish councils and voluntary groups that have been working in partnership with us to these open.
"They are important and I think we have served our communities well with this approach."
Under the plans Bridgnorth Library will see a reduction of 11 and a half hours, Ludlow – six hours, Market Drayton – five and a half hours, Oswestry – eight hours, Shrewsbury – eight and a half hours, Whitchurch – three hours, Bayston Hill – two and a half hours, Gobowen – two hours, Much Wenlock – two hours, Shrewsbury, The Lantern – three hours, Wem – five hours.
A summary states that in general the revised hours will mean a lunchtime closure where feedback justifies it, and that libraries will open from 9.30am.
Councillor Simon Jones, who represents Shawbury, said that the move to close the village's library was sad but that no one could be found to take it over despite considerable efforts.
He said: "1,200 people signed a petition to keep it open but since that petition the number of users has continued to decline."
He added: "Unfortunately the recommendation has come to this."
Prior to the meeting, Mr West had said: "We understand that changes to library opening hours can cause concern for local residents. However we are in a very difficult position where we have to make significant savings across all services.
"At the same time we have to look at how best we can continue to provide this valuable service in response to how people are now using their libraries.
"The huge response from residents illustrates the importance that the public attach to their local library.
"This is reflected in the revised proposals which takes into account the feedback received."