Sidmouth Library opening hours cut

A county-wide initiative will see DCC save �849,000 a year and ensure none of its libraries are forced to close.

SIDMOUTH Library opening hours will be cut by 15per cent in a bid to save cash.

The move comes just a week after Devon County Council (DCC) vowed to splash �80,000 on installing self-service technology at the Blackmore Drive facility.

The authority’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday to reduce Sidmouth Library hours from 45 a week to 38.

A county-wide initiative will see DCC save �849,000 a year and ensure none of its libraries are forced to close.

Weekly opening hours in Ottery St Mary will be slashed by 27per cent from 29 to 21.

“We’re committed to keeping our libraries open and have the public’s support to do so,” said Councillor Roger Croad, DCC cabinet member for libraries.

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“However, savings do have to be made, which is why we’re already taking necessary steps to minimise costs where we can.”

The Herald reported in May how library managers across the county face having to apply for new roles as some positions will be scrapped.

More than half a million people are registered with libraries in Devon.

DCC said it received more than 8,000 responses to a public consultation earlier this year.

The authority wanted feedback on how residents use libraries and focussed on which days and times were particularly popular.

An officer’s report to DCC cabinet members said: “The key results of the consultation provided indications of the preferred opening hours and days for each individual library. This data was used to inform the new pattern of hours, ensuring libraries are kept open when the public tell us their preferred usage takes place.

“Other key themes from the consultation informed us that communities were very satisfied with the service received from libraries at present.”

Each library will now carry a four week notice period to inform users of the planned changes.

The revised pattern of opening hours will be phased in between September and March.

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