Dozens of villages face losing mobile library under plans to make £1.2m savings

Dozens of villages in the East Riding face losing their mobile library service while opening hours at some libraries could be drastically cut back under proposals to save £1.2m.

The plans which could also see two libraries in Bridlington merge are going out to further public consultation after they were agreed by the council’s Cabinet yesterday.

More than 50 villages including Dunswell, Foston on the Wolds, Grimston and Patrington Haven, where less than two people are using the mobile service, could lose it altogether.

Larger villages who get a weekly visit will get it fortnightly instead and nearly 100 others who get fortnightly visits will see it reduce to once every four weeks.

In Brough the opening hours for the library at the Multi Service Centre could reduce by half from 49 to 26, while hours at Bridlington King Street would fall from 51 hours to 37. North Bridlington would close as a library but be kept for community use. Beverley could lose 13.5 hours and and Driffield nine hours.

This was despite a first round of public consultation in which 77 per cent disagreed with plans to reduce opening hours, while 84 per cent were against reducing the number of mobile stops. Eight thousand people took part in the consultation.

However when asked whether they would prefer some branches to close and maintain the same opening hours at the ones left, the vast majority opted for keeping all branches open but with reduced opening hours.

The small number of “housebound” residents who receive the ‘At Home’ service will continue to receive it and people will be able to apply for the service if they meet the social service definition of housebound. Head of culture and information Darren Stevens said they would employ less staff if the proposals, which would be implemented next April 1, go through. There are around 107 full-time library posts and 90 working in customer service centres. He said: “We are hoping through managing vacant posts and having temporary staff that the number of redundancies will be minimised.”

Cabinet member Coun Richard Burton said people wanted “a professionally run service and not necessarily one run by volunteers.”