Libraries

Library opening hours review

We consulted you in 2016 about changes to library opening hours, proposing to reduce opening hours by a total of 30 per week across our 12 libraries in order to meet £85,000 savings targets.

The original proposal:

This was to group all libraries into the following three categories with opening hour patterns as follows:

Community libraries (Ampthill, Barton, Potton, Stotfold and Toddington)

Tuesday – Friday, 2pm - 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 1pm

Area libraries (Biggleswade, Flitwick, Houghton Regis, Sandy, Shefford)

Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 1pm

Main libraries (Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard)

Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 4pm

New proposal:

As a result of the public consultation there were significant changes in the opening hours proposals because:

  • a significant percentage of respondents favoured Monday as a closed day (63.8%). In every library, the majority of consultees favoured closure on a Monday
  • all community libraries respondents provided strong feedback that they wanted morning and afternoon opening
  • respondents said that Saturday was the most popular day to visit a library

The savings targets were then reduced to £56,000 and, as a result, we were able to change our proposals so that there will now be an overall increase in opening hours across the 12 libraries in Central Bedfordshire, with eight libraries seeing either an increase in their opening hours or no reduction at all.

The new opening hours (from October 1, 2017) are:

Community libraries (Ampthill, Barton, Potton, Stotfold and Toddington)

Tuesday, 9am – 1pm
Wednesday, 2pm – 6pm
Thursday, 9am – 1pm
Friday, 9am – 1pm and 2pm – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 4pm

Area libraries (Biggleswade, Flitwick, Houghton Regis, Sandy, Shefford)

Tuesday, – Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 4pm

Main libraries (Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard)

Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 4pm

This increases hours and strengthens the offer to communities served by community and area libraries.

  • each community library will be open 27 hours a week rather than 20 as in the consultation proposal. Currently, the 5 community libraries are open 118 hours a week so this proposal would result in an increase from the current position of 17 hours a week
  • all area libraries will open 43 hours a week rather than 40 as in the consultation proposal. Area libraries will therefore increase their opening hours from the current position of 202 hours a week to 215 a week
  • main libraries will lose 5 hours a week as per consultation proposal (from 48 to 43)

Dunstable Library

There is an opportunity to greatly enhance the library in Dunstable once the it moves from its current home in Vernon Place into the brand new, state-of-the-art, £20.1 million leisure and community hub currently being built on the site of the old leisure centre, due for completion in winter 2018 / 2019. We are considering longer opening hours for the relocated new library in Dunstable because it will be hosted in a building that is open seven days a week. For now, Dunstable Library is still open as usual at Vernon Place.

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