Torbay Labour Party is supporting efforts to keep library opening hours as they are. As part of the cuts being introduced by the Bay’s Tory Mayor, there are plans to reduce opening hours.
The Bay’s Labour Chairman, Councillor Darren Cowell is to move an amendment at this week’s budget meeting calling for £63,000 to be put back in to the library budget.
Councillor Cowell said, “The library service took a big hit last year and it is being asked to cut £170,000 this year also. I visited Torquay and Paignton Libraries on Saturday as part of National Libraries Day – I couldn’t visit Brixham and Churston as they close at 1pm. I was delighted to have met with the Friends groups who discussed the wide range of services on offer.
“Libraries are not just about books anymore. There are a wide range of services on offer and it’s nothing short of a scandal to cut the opening hours. Paignton is a brand new £6m facility and we are talking about closing it on a weekday afternoon.
“It may be true that there are fewer visitors to libraries after 5pm, but many of the people who take advantage of a late evening are those unable to visit at other times.
“I am urging the reinstatement of this money to enable the review that is currently being undertaken to report and to allow the Library Service, Friends groups and other bodies to look at new ways of working.
“Torbay currently has one of the worst provisions for library hours in the country, this cut will make it even worse.”
Jack Critchlow, acting Chair of the Friends of Torquay Library, said; “We were delighted that Councillor Darren Cowell was able to join us at Torquay Library to celebrate National Library Day. He chatted with library users who left him in no doubt as to what they thought of council plans to cut the budget and hours.
Mr Critchlow added; “All of our libraries do a fantastic job and it would be outrageous if for some reason they were not able to continue to do so.”
The motion has the support of the Non Coalition Group and will be seconded by Councillor Vic Ellery at the Council’s budget meeting on Wednesday (5:30pm, Oldway).Other news from Torbay Labour