Two North Down councillors have expressed concern at news of proposed cuts to the opening hours of North Down’s three main libraries in Bangor, Donaghadee and Holywood.
One has called on the Chief Executive of Libraries NI to confirm that the quality of services will not diminish and the other has begun a petition for those affected to register their disagreement with such cuts.
The current proposal will see Bangor’s Carnegie Library reduced to 57 open hours per week.
Donaghadee’s library will be reduced to 30 hours a week and Holywood’s library service will be reduced to 40 hours per week.
The current consultation period is open until December 2, 2011.
Alderman Gordon Dunne, North Down DUP councillor, said: “I am concerned at the news from Libraries NI regarding cuts in the opening hours of our three main libraries in North Down.
“It is regrettable that Libraries NI are proposing to reduce the opening hours in the Bangor, Donaghadee and Holywood libraries.
“I know these Libraries are well used by both young and old in the community and it is unfortunate that their opening hours are now going to be under review.
“There is currently a consultation period, now open until 2nd December 2011, where members of the public can express their opinions of these new proposals.”
He added: “I will be writing to the Chief Executive of Libraries NI, asking her to review these proposed changes and I will be seeking a reassurance that the quality of service will not be reduced for users of these libraries in North Down.”
North Down Alliance Councillor Andrew Muir has started the petition for users to voice their anger at the cuts.
He said: “Libraries NI recently announced plans to cut the opening hours of many libraries across Northern Ireland.
“Whilst I recognise that Libraries NI need to balance their budget, making such cuts at the behest of the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure could be the death knell of some libraries reducing visitors to an unsustainable level with the next logical step closure”.
Said he: “I am particularly disturbed to learn that Holywood Library will have its doors shut for an extra 13.5 hours after recently being refurbished.
“This refurbishment involved a complete redesign of the library interior and was intended by Libraries NI to “broaden its appeal to the local community”.
He said the decision to close Bangor Library more regularly flew in the face of its refurbishment a few years ago.
He added: “The public have their opportunity to make their views known until 14 November via local libraries and http://www.ni-libraries.net.”