Council backtracks on plans to cut library opening hours as it announces one million reserve fund

Katherine Johnston (31 January, 2019) Culture

One day a week closure scrapped

27321the newly opened Grove Vale library

A new one million pound library fund will keep libraries across Southwark opening hours unchanged, Southwark Council announced today, as proposals to cut by one day a week are scrapped

The council had tabled plans for the John Harvard, Dulwich, Walworth, Peckham and Camberwell libraries’ to close one day a week as a cost saving exercise.

In a statement sent to the News this morning, Councillor Victoria Mills, cabinet member for finance, performance and Brexit, said a one million pound reserve fund will keep the libraries fully open for the next four years.

Full details will be outlined in the council’s budget report, due to be published next week.

She told the News: “We know the importance that residents place on their libraries, they are places of enjoyment, to socialise, play, study and connect to vital services for all ages.

“Southwark Council has a strong record in prioritising and investing in its libraries, despite many years of austerity and government cuts to public services.  

“As such, I can confirm that a £1m reserve, to cover the next four years, has been put in place within the council’s budget to ensure that our libraries stay open for years to come.”

Cllr Rebecca Lury, cabinet member for culture, leisure, equalities and communities said: “In difficult times we will always be a listening council and do our best to prioritise the services our residents value, including spaces to study, community activities, and accessing heritage services as part of our libraries offer.”

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