Nailsea library new hours from September

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By Carol_Deacon | Thursday, March 29, 2012, 12:57

Nailsea library opening hours will be reduced by just two and a half hours a week in September and not the six hours proposed by North Somerset Council.

Hundreds of Nailsea people responded to a library service review to cut opening hours.

In total 15 per cent of the people across the district who gave their views lived in Nailsea.

The proposed lunchtime closures at Clevedon, Nailsea and Worle libraries will now not happen and the proposal to close Portishead on Wednesday afternoon has been changed.

North Somerset Council has to make savings of £47.3million over the next three years, meaning that for every £3 it spends now it will only have £2 by 2015.

It intended to cut £347,000 from the library service.  

To do this it has carried out an extensive three-month review with almost 2,000 people responding, half of these online.

The council's intention is to continue to provide library services in communities that already receive them, to invest in services where it can and not to close libraries.

But villagers are losing its library access point based at Backwell Leisure Centre in April and instead will have to rely on a two hour weekly visit from the mobile library or make the journey to Nailsea.

The main change is most libraries will have self-service terminals by this summer to allow a reduction in staffing levels and with some communities getting involved in a self-help scheme. 

The council plans not to fill vacancies, get some staff to change their hours or take voluntary redundancy which should result in few, if any, compulsory redundancies.

Because of changing patterns in library usage some libraries will open longer, including Sundays, others won't change and some will see a reduction in hours, said a council spokesman. 

The proposals show less that a one per cent reduction in overall opening hours - from 420.5 hours currently to 419.5 hours. 

North Somerset Council executive member with responsibility for libraries Felicity Baker said: "We would like to thank everyone who responded to our consultation. 

"We have listened to your comments and where possible have matched proposals more closely to them, especially on the opening hours. 

"We face severe financial pressures, but despite this, we are still able to maintain, and where possible, invest in library services.

"We are pleased that several parish councils and communities have approached us about developing volunteering networks to support and enhance the new opening arrangements.  

"We will be exploring these opportunities over the coming months."

Many respondents to the consultation found that the proposed opening times were more convenient than those currently in place or that they made little or no difference.

To allow residents across the district to have access to library services on Sundays Portishead and the Campus Library in Locking Castle will continue to open and will be joined by the new Weston Library towards the end of the year, meaning there will be a library in the north and south of the district open on a Sunday.

Despite the severe budget pressures on the service, investment in libraries is still taking place. 

Last year a new state-of-the-art library opened in Portishead and the new Weston-super-Mare Library will open next year.

Library staff in have been fully involved in the consultation process, as have the unions. 

The final proposals and consultation results can be viewed on the North Somerset Council website by clicking HERE.

These changes will now be introduced in libraries across the district from Monday, September 3. 

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