11:54AM, Tuesday 08 September 2020
Maidenhead and Windsor libraries could be closed on Sundays and have reduced opening hours during the week in a bid to save costs.
The Royal Borough has launched a consultation to reduce library opening times by 123 hours which will 'maintain a sustainable and resilient library service' and deliver 'essential savings' to the council.
The consultation was due to run in March but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it had been postponed due to library services being closed. The pandemic has not impacted the original proposals.
The proposals seek to close every Royal Borough library on Sunday, including Ascot, Boyn Grove, Cookham, Cox Green, Datchet, Dedworth, Eton, Eton Wick, Old Windsor, Sunninghill, the container library, as well as Maidenhead and Windsor libraries.
Libraries would also see their opening hours reduced in the week with some now closing an hour at lunch.
Other changes include Cookham, Datchet, Old Widsor, Sunninghill libraries being closed on a Friday, Cox Green being closed on a Wednesday and Eton Wick being closed on a Wednesday and Friday.
Eton library, which was only partly open on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, will close and be replaced with a mobile library visit on Monday and Friday.
The council said the proposals are based on a number of factors including usage data, knowledge of the local community, staff input, groups who regularly meet in the library, cost per hour and equality considerations.
It states: "We believe that the reductions will still enable us to provide a comprehensive library service taking into account the continuation of the full range of services such as the digital offering, literacy inclusion work and home library service for housebound residents."
Councillor Samantha Rayner, deputy leader of the council and lead member for leisure and resident services, said: “It is vital that we hear your thoughts about libraries but we also need to consider how they will be used going forward and if there are ways we can adapt or change them to reflect their current usage.
“There was already an excellent digital offering as an alternative, for many, to physical visits to our buildings. We’ve seen this become even more popular during the lockdown period and we should consider that when reviewing opening hours as it will help with reducing running costs."
Responses need to be submitted by November 30 with results going to cabinet on January 28.
If you would like a physical copy of the consultation please email Angela.Huisman@RBWM.gov.uk or call 07717 693031.
Click here for more information.
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