Fears over proposed library cuts

Cllr William McCandless
Cllr William McCandless

Under new proposals opening hours could be reduced at libraries in Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush.

Kilrea and Garvagh libraries would be unaffected by the recent budget cuts.

Cllr Norman Hillis

Cllr Norman Hillis

This week The Ulster Unionist Party has expressed its concerns at the proposals.

Councillor William McCandless, who is the Party’s East Londonderry Westminster candidate, said: “Modern libraries are about much more than simply borrowing books. They provide a focal point for many communities, assist people to get online and encourage employability. I believe that these proposed cuts to library opening hours, coming so soon after the recent cuts in early years learning are a bridge too far.

“Under the proposals currently out for consultation, Coleraine library would lose seven hours per week and see a reduction from 57 to 50 whilst Limavady would lose eight hours, a reduction from 48 to 40.

“Portstewart would lose 5, a reduction from 40 to 35, and Portrush would lose 12 hours coming down from 40 to 28, whilst Kilrea and Garvagh would be unaffected and remain at 18 hours each.

“I understand that reductions are inevitable given the current budgetary situation, but I am concerned at the scale of the reductions as they effect East Londonderry and would urge local people to respond to the consultation which closes on Friday 17th April. Questionnaires can be found in local libraries or accessed by the following link.”

Portrush Councillor Norman Hillis added: “I am calling on Libraries NI to re-examine the proposals for Portrush with a view to implementing a less dramatic reduction in opening hours, and I urge local people to respond to the consultation and to support their local library.”

Visit http://www.librariesni.org.uk.