New library opening hours will go live across Cheshire East from next month.
The changes will come into effect on Friday 1 December at all sites across the borough except for Alderley Edge library where the new opening hours will go live on Tuesday 5 December.
In June, the council launched a public consultation on proposals to reduce the current opening hours of libraries across the borough so that all sites are closed for at least 1.5 days during the week.
The changes to library opening hours are required to deliver the essential savings included in the council's adopted medium-term financial strategy (MTFS).
Having considered the feedback received during the consultation, the council changed the proposals to:
- Deliver the half day closure by opening later or closing earlier for four days of the week, instead of closing for a full half day. The timings will be based on individual site usage data.
- Reinstate 31 hours per week of opening hours across the borough, targeted at sites where usage and demand is greatest.
The combination of these proposals means that the libraries which are currently open each weekday will continue to be, with one of those days being a half-day opening.
For Wilmslow Library the proposal was to close on a Friday and half day Tuesday - therefore reducing the opening hours by 12 a week. However, this has now been changed and the final proposal is to close Friday afternoons and open at 10am all other weekdays - which will result in a reduction of 9 hours each week.
For Handforth Library the proposal was to close half day on Mondays therefore reducing the opening hours by 4 a week final proposal is Tuesdays late opening moved to 6pm and open 10am all other days (already closed on Weds) which will result in a reduction of 3 hours each week.
Libraries which are currently closed for 1.5 days or more in the week will stay as they are e.g. Alderley Edge where the proposal is to close on a Thursday but open all day Friday.
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "The council absolutely understands just how much libraries are valued by local communities, and we have worked hard to reduce the impact on library opening hours as much as possible, while ensuring that we can make essential savings to balance our budget and protect services for those most at risk in our community.
"I am very pleased that as a result of the feedback we received about our proposals, and following 'top-up' funding from Crewe and Nantwich town councils for services in their areas, 31 hours per week of library opening time has been reinstated across the borough at sites where usage and demand is greatest.
"Alongside this, and as significant pressures on council finances remain, we have continued to explore opportunities to make the libraries service financially more self-sufficient, such as by bringing in third parties for wider community use benefits."
The new opening hours will be:
- Alderley Edge - closed Monday, 9.30am to 1pm Tuesday, 9.30am to 1pm and 2-5pm Wednesday, closed Thursday, 9.30am to 1pm and 2-5pm Friday, 9.30am to 1pm Saturday
- Handforth - 10am to 5pm Monday, 10am to 6pm Tuesday, closed Wednesday, 10am to 5pm Thursday, 9.30am to 10am to 5pm Friday, 9.30am to 1pm Saturday.
- Wilmslow - 10am to 5pm Monday, 10am to 5pm Tuesday, 10am to 5pm Wednesday, 10am to 7pm Thursday, 10am to 1pm Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday.