CONTROVERSIAL changes to the opening hours of Peterborough libraries will be enforced tomorrow (1 June) as part of council budget cuts.
The changes in hours will affect Hampton, Orton, Woodston, Bretton, Werrington, Dogsthorpe, Eye, Thorney and Stanground libraries and come amid a clamour of protests from hundreds of residents.
The alterations to the opening hours have been made by Peterborough City Council as an attempt to cut spending by £171,000, with most of the changes seeing libraries opening later and closing earlier.
Among the most significant changes are at Dogsthorpe library, which will now be closed on Mondays, while Woodston Library will be shut on Tuesdays.
The controversial changes faced strong opposition in some parts of the city when they were announced.
The council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget for 2011/12, agreed by full council in February, would have seen Bretton, Werrington and Orton libraries’ open for 29 hours each a week in a bid to save £223,000 – but down from 44.5 hours each per week.
However, after two petitions from residents were handed into the council calling for the libraries to open longer, it was agreed by councillors that the libraries should be open for 37 hours instead, after an extra £52,000 was found to add to the library budget.
Kevin Tighe, chief executive of Vivacity, which runs Peterborough’s libraries, said: “We have been working closely with the council to help it meet its budget challenges. Our aim is to provide the very best library services for the people of Peterborough.
“We are delighted that by working together with the council we have been able to lessen the impact the budget challenge has had on our libraries.”
Residents in Yaxley are currently fighting Huntingdonshire District Council to slash opening hours in the village’s library by four hours, and nearly 2,000 people signed a petition against the cuts last year.
Central Library in Broadway, Peterborough, will not be affected by a change in opening hours.
The mobile library’s timetable will also change from tomorrow, with some locations now being visited on alternate weeks, rather than every week.
For a full list of changes to the opening hours, and for more information about when city libraries will be open and the services they offer, visit www.peterborough.gov.uk or call into your local library.