6 Jul 2008

Good news: Library consultation called off

I was relieved to read that plans to cut library opening hours in Gloucestershire have been scrapped. The county council consultation on changes to library opening hours has apparently been called off. See also more here.

The money-saving ideas from the council's Libraries and Information Service - which included 'closing libraries at the times they were not being used to their full potential' - were due to be launched from September after public consultation. Libraries locally under the spotlight included Stonehouse, Minchinhampton and Stroud. Now the council's ruling Tory administration has made a U-turn: apparently this is the first time Council leader Coun Barry Dare has used his prerogative as leader to overrule the previous plan and cancel the consultation.

Indeed it was nonsense to suggest reducing library hours - perhaps instead they will consider (like the Lib Dems have called for) extending library hours still further particularly on Sundays. Regular blog readers will have seen my many previous pieces on the wonders of libraries and also support to stop Painswick Library from closing (see for example here but also click on Library label below). For latest on the Painswick Library project probably the best place is to go to The Beacon here (no more news at mo). For more information about Glos libraries visit www.gloucestershire. gov.uk/libraries

However it sounds like the reference library in Gloucester has not been saved. One letter writer to The Citizen said: "This superb reference library, along with Cheltenham Library, were the best between Birmingham and Bristol. I now learn that someone mans a telephone and gets back with the answers. Not everyone has access to a computer. I just hope it's not all about saving money."

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