Library opening hours across Thanet, and Kent, are likely to be cut as part of a Kent County Council three year plan.
The proposal aims to save the authority £1million over the next two years. In 2017-18, KCC spent £15,993,000 on running Libraries, Registration and Archives services. LRA services brought in an income of £6,300,000; the majority of this comes from registration services leaving a cost of £9,623,000.
The vast majority of spend – £11,328,000- is on staffing. The proposals to reduce hours will also mean staff cuts through redundancy, non-filling of vacant posts and/or early retirement.
The Thanet library facing the greatest reduction in hours is Newington, which is set to go from being open 40 hours per week to just 15 hours.
Margate reduces from 55 hours to 42; Birchington from 40 to 37; Broadstairs from 55 to 37; Ramsgate from 53 to 37; Cliftonville from 40 to 28; Westgate from 38 to 28 and Minster from 33 to 23.
The new opening hour proposals were reached by looking at the number of visits, loans, computer use, unique visitors, event visitors and building size.
It is proposed that all libraries will be open on Saturdays.
Specialist services such as the mobile library, home library delivery, audio books by post, and residential home services will be brought together under one brand of Library Direct.
Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “We know that our library service is highly-valued by the public, but it is not immune from the financial pressures on all county council services.
“We have been working on a three-year strategy which is intended to protect the future of all our libraries and our archive and registration offers and, in fact, enhance some of these services.
“Being open at times when libraries are not well used is not a good use of taxpayers’ money.”
A consultation is now open on the proposals and runs until January 29.
Following the end of the consultation a full analysis and report will be completed and be presented to the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee on March 7 before a decision is taken by the Cabinet Member for Communities and Regulatory Services.
KCC says Kent residents will then have the opportunity to shape the pattern of opening hours at their local library to suit their communities.
Drop in sessions
Drop in events are being held at libraries across the county, including two in Thanet.
Thanet Gateway Plus, Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1RE
Wednesday 23 January 9:30-12:30
Guildford Lawn, Ramsgate, CT11 9AY
Wednesday 23 January14:00-17:00
Find the consultation online here
A very depressing situation but only to be expected with this Tory government which cares nothing for the welfare of the general populace. An ignorant and semi-literate country is what they want and need – otherwise we would surely give them the push at the next election.
Smacks of Communism and/or Far Right…………the general populace need and use libraries, so many extra events and such kind and helpful staff. I have used Thanet (Margate)library for so many years and really appreciate the hours put in by the dedicated staff
How does this smack of communism or far right? This is standard Conservative austerity. Nothing fancy about it. It’s what people voted for.
For the record I value the library highly and am against it’s closer. Maybe tax Amazon or something instead.
Oh no !! Not another pointless “consultation”? We all know that KCC has decided to cut library services but they have to go through the charade of “consulting the public” before they go ahead and do it anyway. If the Kent County Councillors were genuinely upset at having to make all these cuts to public services , they would kick up a stink against the government. After all, Kent County Council is run by the Tories. So their voice would be a powerful rejection of the Tory government because they would reflect a deep unease within the ranks of their own Party. Labour Councillors can also object, of course, but that would be expected and the Tory government would just dismiss them. They would not be able to dismiss the power of their own members refusing to co-operate. I can only conclude that the Tory Councillors on KCC don’t really mind cutting all these services or, at least, aren’t prepared to make their own Party look bad so they will try to justify the cuts as if they are inevitable, like the cold and the rain. There is a lot they could do, but they just cave in when the Tory cabinet kicks them in the teeth by cutting the money due to local Councils.
Our comments and filing in he questionnaire will make no difference as they do not listen.
BUT we have made a statement and one day the elected Councillors may just hear us!
Our comments and filing in the questionnaire will make no difference as they do not listen.
County Councils have been squeezed by central government – ultimately, blame them – but these cuts are so short-sighted. Libraries have provided not only access to knowledge and education, but a refuge and community base for those who are alone or on very low incomes. The rise in loneliness and poor mental health will cost more in the long run and put further strain on the community and the NHS. What a nonsense it is – and what you cut, you lose. We’ll never get it back.
Standard Tory austerity. It’s the will of the people…
If the millions were taken from the private firms leading consultation programs, we’d have more money for public services.
This is ideology, nothing more, nothing less. The money does exist. There just needs to be the will in government to value local services.
However, the electorate do note agree.
Hospital closures – Will of the people
Library closures – will of the people
Increased homelessness – will of the people
Along with effects on library users and community wellbeing, cutting staff takes people from the area, lessens the local economy, negative effects rippling out. The incompetent KCC Lining the pockets of financiers by making the second worse LIBOR loan deals in England.
And these complacent Tory councillors need to call out the cuts made by their own government in the name of austerity.