|New opening times for Borough's libraries
OPENING hours in many of the borough’s libraries are set to change from Tuesday 2 April.
In 2011 Wigan Council, and its partners WLCT, set about remodelling and redefining the borough’s library service to ensure a quality, modern service for residents and to meet the financial challenges faced in these economically tough times. As part of this Next Chapter review, opening hours will now be standardised across each of the three new types of libraries Central, Local and Express.
Work undertaken as part of the Next Chapter has already included co-locating services in library buildings, re-locating libraries to other buildings and introducing self-service which has contributed more than £1.4m to the £76m Wigan Council are required to make in savings by central government by 2015.
To properly inform the best opening hours to adopt, WLCT has researched extensively and - as part of the Next Chapter Consultation - sought people’s views to identify those periods when our libraries are most and least well used.
Current opening hours in libraries run by volunteers will remain the same.
Cllr Chris Ready, cabinet member for leisure, said: Throughout this process we as a local authority have endeavoured to protect frontline services for the taxpayer and ensure quality services for our residents.
WLCT has done a superb job identifying pragmatic solutions to delivering quality leisure services at a much reduced cost.
We are proud that despite these huge cuts only one library closed as a result of these savings and that library is now open again and being run by Book-Cycle in Beech Hill.
When services are at risk we will continue to work with WLCT and community groups to make sure every opportunity is taken to retain quality services despite huge cuts to our local authority budget.
WLCT’s contract to manage leisure and cultural services, on behalf of Wigan Council, has reduced by £4.6m in the last two years. In 2012/13 it will be reduced by a further £1.8m to £10m per annum. Across all 15 libraries these new opening times result in the average number of hours at each library reducing by just 4.9 per week and now reflects when libraries are used by customers. It also contributes a £150,000 saving.
Stuart Murray, Chief Executive of WLCT, said: Changing opening times to match customer demand ensures greater retention of individual libraries despite budget cuts. It’s a practical solution to meeting the financial challenges faced by the local authority whilst retaining a quality service for the people of the borough.
Visit your library to find out the new opening times or visit www.wlct.org/libraries
New opening hours
Library Central (Wigan and Leigh)
Library Local (Ashton, Golborne, Hindley, Lamberhead Green, Standish, Tyldesley
Atherton, Marsh Green, Platt Bridge, Shevington
*Excluding Aspull, Hope & Ince which are volunteer libraries