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Durham libraries face hours cut
THIRTY-eight public libraries will see their opening hours cut tomorrow (Wednesday, January 2).
Facing a spending squeeze of nearly £200m over the next few years, Labour-led Durham County Council chose to keep all its libraries open – but with reduced hours.
Eleven town centre libraries will be open for 36 hours per week, while 27 community branches will be open for 20 hours.
The mobile library service is also being reduced, so vehicles will only stop at communities more than three miles from a library building – and only once in each community.
The council’s flagship Clayport library, in Durham City, has already had its hours cut.
Labour says the changes will save nearly £1.5m a year and stop any libraries from closing.
Liberal Democrats say they suggested ways of paying to keep libraries open longer but their ideas were ignored.
Library users were given the chance to have their say over their local branch’s exact opening times.
Full details of Durham County Council’s new library opening hours and more can be found online at durham.gov.uk/libraries Meanwhile, council chiefs are still looking into outsourcing taxpayer-owned theatres, museums, libraries and leisure centres to a not-for-profit trust, in a bid to save more than £800,000 in business rates and VAT and open up new funding opportunities.