Clarity needed on libraries

LIBRARY CUTS Opening hours at Mirfield could be reduced.
LIBRARY CUTS Opening hours at Mirfield could be reduced.

Senior Kirklees councillors have been asked to make some parts of its library plan clearer.

Kirklees Cabinet will consider a report next week by a scrutiny committee that recommended the council make a clearer definition of “town libraries” and “community libraries” in its overhaul of the service, which will include reduced opening hours and around 100 job cuts.

The report to cabinet read: “There needs to be a clearer definition of the two tier model of services (Town and Community Supported Libraries) being proposed so that the public can clearly understand the rationale and the service offer they can expect.

“Once the definition has been clarified, cabinet should review and categorise the different libraries in line with the clear definition and that paid staff hours be allocated appropriately.”

In the face of significant cuts to the council’s grant from central government a large amount of the library budget will be cut.

Only one library, Thornhill Lees, will close under the current plan and the remainder will be staffed or part-staffed, with support from volunteers and reduced opening hours.

Under the original proposal by the cabinet Birstall Library would be open for 30 hours a week and Mirfield for 35.

The suggestion put forward by the scrutiny committee asked cabinet to consider bringing both libraries to 32 and a half hours a week, which it said would bring them in line in terms of usage.