[P]roposed changes to the opening hours of Penrith library are the focus of a consultation launched on 12 July by Cumbria County Council, and open until 2 August.
Councillor Ian Stewart, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services: “Cumbria County Council continues to be committed to our libraries. They are about more than just books. They are community hubs providing access to a huge range of resources, experiences and learning. However, like all council services, government cuts have put financial pressure on libraries. We’ve made every effort to manage this without affecting the service the public receives and as a result Cumbria has avoided the wholesale changes to library services which have occurred elsewhere in the country.
“On occasion there have been days when there have been unplanned library closures because cover staffing has not been available. This is something we’d rather avoid, we want people to know for certain when libraries will be open.
“Alongside this we’ve also been reviewing when people are actually using our libraries. This is to make sure we use our resources most efficiently.
“Taking these issues into account we are now proposing some limited changes to opening hours that reflect these two issues.”
The changes will not lead to staffing reductions – staff will continue to work the same hours, but more of these will be spent on essential operational activity ‘behind the scenes’ while the library is closed to the public. This time is needed to allow libraries to continue to offer a first class service when they are open.
Full details of the consultation can be found online at www.cumbria.gov.uk/haveyoursay or by visiting Penrith library. The public consultation closes on 2 August.
Staff will also be on hand to answer questions and listen to feedback from the public at Penrith library.