I wanted to update the story I posted about library opening hours last week.
First of all an apology. We had previously discussed library hours at a scrutiny committee in closed session because the issue had not yet been raised with library staff. Of course, I did not break that confidentiality. Councillors last week got the detailed plans on papers which made no mention of the need for confidentiality. I assumed, therefore, that staff had been made aware of the plans. As it turned out, they had not and councillors received a hasty email asking them not to go public - but only two days after we were told of the plans and after I had blogged. This was a genuine mistake for which I apologise to staff as it is important that they should be consulted about the plans before they become public.
There has just been a round of consultation with councillors which I believe have proved very useful. I'm very grateful for assurances that the opening times for each library will be worked out based on what is sensible for the local area rather than a rigid central system.
I still think that the overall cut in hours is regrettable - but it is certainly better than closing branches. I hope something can be worked out for Fowey and Looe where the number of hours cut is 15 for each branch but I think that the impact elsewhere can be minimal if sensible opening times can be worked out.
We will also see the move of the One Stop Shop from Market House Arcade in Launceston to share the library building. This is a cost cutting move which hopefully won't adversely impact on services. Indeed, because the OSS is likely to change to library opening hours then we should see the facility opening on a Saturday morning and into the evening on one day per week - something I have been asking for since I joined the council.