FURTHER cuts to library services, including cutting opening times by nearly a third and the possible closure of a library in a city gearing up to be City of Culture in 2017, have been described as “shocking” by unions.
Labour members of Hull’s Cabinet yesterday agreed to consult over £320,000 cuts which will see the number of librarians and managers cut, a 28 per cent reduction in opening hours at all libraries except Central Library and the closure or relocation of Holderness Road Library in 2015/16.
The cuts come on top of the withdrawal of the mobile library service and reductions in the number of librarians this year to save the cash-strapped council £95,000.
Adrian Kennett, Hull branch secretary of Unison, said: “The position of the joint trade unions is that we are just so sad about this with being City of Culture. It is just shocking.”
Mr Kennett said they would speak to their membership about any action – but admitted they were finding it difficult to motivate them.
He said: “At one end they are getting rid of low paid workers on £14,000 a year, but the council can still take on a consultant for £26,000 for three months work. That is what sticks in the craws of our members. There is still money sloshing about.”
Coun Terry Geraghty said the unions should be lobbying Government, the source of the funding cuts, and said they had avoided the wholesale closures seen by some councils.
He hopes to see Holderness Road Library relocated and satellite libraries, which would still have a range of books, and the chance of ordering a book, open, which he claimed would be an “even better” service then the mobile library.
The council, he said, still had one of the biggest book funds in the country spending £600,000 a year. “The unions should be lobbying Number 10 Downing Street, not here,” he said. “We don’t want to make any reductions or closures.”