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Islington’s libraries face opening hours cuts

PUBLISHED: 11:31 20 June 2011

Councillor Paul Convery

Councillor Paul Convery

Archant

Opening hours are likely to be cut at Islington’s libraries – but the council has pledged not to close any branches.

The amount of money spent on books is also likely to be reduced, as Islington Council bids to save £600,000 from the library budget by 2014.

It has launched a consultation on the service’s future, asking residents what they think about a range of cuts options.

Councillor Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for regeneration and planning, said: “There will be no branch closures during this administration – that is an absolute commitment.

“But we are likely to see reduced opening hours, reduced spending on books, and possibly the sharing of some services with Camden.”

The council is planning to make the biggest savings by transferring the running of the libraries to a charitable trust.

Cllr Convery said: “By moving to a trust model, we could make savings of nearly £500,000 just by being let off business rates.

“Otherwise, we would probably have to cut two or three libraries completely in order to make the savings.”

Andrew Bosi, who is on the committee of the Islington Society, which incorporates the Friends of Islington Libraries, said: “If it’s a choice between that and closing libraries, it’s much better.

“As long as the council still controls when libraries are open and what they do, I think it would be a good idea.”

The consultation runs until July 31.

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