Cornwall

Cornwall Council reduces library hours to save £1.5m

Library books
Image caption Cornwall Council said it had to make some "very difficult" decisions

The opening hours at a number of Cornwall's libraries are being reduced to save the council more than £1.5m.

Libraries will also be merged with existing one-stop-shops and the registration service, which registers births and deaths and carries out civil ceremonies.

But Cornwall Council said it did not plan to close any of its 32 libraries in the face of government funding cuts.

The new opening hours will take affect from 18 April.

'It's regrettable'

Gill Steward, the council's corporate director for communities, said: "Every town that currently has a library or one-stop-shop will continue to do so, but, where possible, these will be brought together in one building instead of two.

"We appreciate there may be some implications for people using these services but the reality is that Cornwall, like the rest of the country, has to make some very difficult decisions."

Cornwall Council, which is run by a Conservative-Independent coalition, has said it needs to cut more than £170m from its budget over the next four years.

Councillor Alex Folkes, the Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet member for libraries, said: "It's regrettable that libraries will be losing more than 90 hours across Cornwall each week.

"But it's good that local concerns about specific opening hours have been listened to."

Mr Folkes raised concerns about the plan to merge libraries and registration services.

He said: "If you are going to register a death do you really want to go into a very busy library to do it?

"You have to wonder whether that's appropriate."

Sue James, who led a campaign to keep St Just library open, said: "Anything that keeps the libraries has to be viewed as encouraging.

"But whilst we are reassured we will be watching this space."

The council said the mobile library service, Cornish Studies Library and the Cornwall Record Office were not currently affected by the changes in library hours but would be reviewed at "a later stage".

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