Staff help stop Hampshire library hours cut

PLEASED Keith Chapman
PLEASED Keith Chapman
Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to cut opening hours at Emsworth library have been avoided thanks to the dedication of staff.

Hampshire County Council was proposing to reduce opening times by two hours a week as part of a £450,000 money-saving review.

Staff at the library have reorganised their rotas so during quieter times there will now be fewer people on duty.

This frees up people to work at different times so the opening times can remain the same over the week.

Rosters have been reorganised based on borrowing patterns in the library to identify peak times and when it is likely to be less busy.

A six-month trial will start from April, after which time it will be reviewed.

Councillor Keith Chapman, in charge of libraries in Hampshire, said: ‘It is great to see such flexibility, resilience and willingness by library staff to make changes to help cope with the tough financial challenges that we’re facing.

‘We’re lucky to have the support of committed staff, and thanks to them, local residents can continue to enjoy unchanged opening hours at Emsworth library.’

As previously reported, other libraries in the area have been saved from the proposed cuts to opening hours, including Elson library in Gosport.

Original plans would have seen it close on Mondays and lose its late-night opening on Tuesdays.

Leigh Park library has kept its late-night opening times on a Thursday following public opposition.

But some libraries across The News area will still see reductions.

Havant’s library will close completely on Sundays, Portchester’s on Tuesdays and Stubbington’s on Wednesdays.

In total, 32 hours will be lost across all libraries.