Libraries NI have revealed plans to cut Holywood Library’s opening hours from 53.5 hours to 40 hours per week.
The cuts come after Libraries NI announced that following receipt of additional funding ‘opening hours do not need to be reduced to the same levels as originally proposed’ and issued their final decisions concerning future opening hours for all Libraries across Northern Ireland.
A Libraries NI spokesperson said: “Libraries NI regrets any reductions in opening hours and the impact this will have on library users.
“Though additional funding was announced recently, Libraries NI still needs to reduce opening hours in order to deliver the savings targets resulting for the Comprehensive Spending Review.
“In order to be as fair as possible, library usage figures were analysed right across Northern Ireland and then libraries were allocated into bands. Based on its usage figures, Holywood Library will now be in the third band out of six and it will be open forty hours each week.
“We will engage with local customers in Holywood to establish the best pattern of opening hours to suit their needs.”
North Down Alliance Councillor Andrew Muir stated “I am astounded to learn that despite receiving an extra £2.39million the Libraries Authority still plan to savagely cut Holywood opening hours whilst other libraries will have their hours increased.
Cutting Holywood Library opening hours from 53.5 to 40 is a significant reduction with only one other library in Northern Ireland targeted for such a massive cutback.”
Cllr Muir stated that, having recently received a refurbishment costing £169,970, reducing the library’s opening hours is nonsensical. “Imposing such drastic cuts after investing significant sums to encourage greater uptake seems illogical and could result in the final chapter for Holywood Library,” Mr Muir said.
“I have written to Libraries NI urging them to re-think their plans and I sincerely hope this situation isn’t a closed book and that NI Libraries are prepared to turn over a new page and consider a more equitable situation for Holywood Library.”