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Libraries at the cutting edge
3:50pm Friday 13th January 2012 in News
Brighton and Hove City Council is proposing to cut and change opening hours at a number of libraries across the city.
The minority Green administration says it has managed to find £440,000 of savings in the library service without closing any facilities.
But opposition councillors say they are “staggered” at proposed changes to such a successful outlet.
Details of the changes will be revealed on Monday when a three-week consultation of library users begins.
The consultation will also ask for opinions on proposals to axe the mobile library service and cancel subscriptions for blind people to get talking books.
UpdateThe Greens have insisted Jubilee Library will not face reduced opening hours.
Cabinet member for culture, recreation and tourism, Geoffrey Bowden, admitted that Jubilee Library would be affected by the planned cuts.
He said: “At a time when councils across the country are closing libraries we are suggesting changes at two out of 14 libraries.
"I think people will be very pleasantly surprised when they see our proposals.
“I can’t say for certain that no libraries will close in the future but in May we return to the committee system and so we will have a cross-party conversation on how to go forward."
Labour leader Gill Mitchell said: “The opening hours of branch libraries have been reducing in an ad-hoc way for years and this seems to be paving the way for all libraries to be open just a few days a week.”
Conservative spokeswoman on culture, recreation and tourism Vanessa Brown said: “We do not accept cuts should be made within the library budget. They should be found somewhere else.
“This is a service that is incredibly important to people across the city and we believe there should be more investment not less.”
Balance the Books
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Make your choice by filling in our online form at www.theargus.co.uk/news/balancebudget
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