Reduction in library opening hours

WHAT do you think of your local library opening for less hours?

The public have until Monday November 14 to let Libraries NI know exactly what you think.

The government body is encouraging the public to complete a consultation questionnaire on proposed reductions in opening hours.

This follows the recent budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review, which resulted in the Board of Libraries NI in September agreeing ‘reluctantly’ to review library opening hours across Northern Ireland.

The Review of Opening Hours proposes that all public libraries across Northern Ireland are categorised into one of four bands based on level of use. 

This means that libraries in Band 1 would open for 57 hours per week; those in Band 2 would open for 40 hours per week; those in Band 3 would open for 30 hours per week and libraries in Band 4 would open for 18 hours per week.

Libraries NI is inviting as many library users as possible to fill out a questionnaire, which should only take a few minutes.

Questionnaires can be obtained at any library and completed and returned to the library, or an electronic questionnaire can be completed through library computers or by visiting the Libraries NI website at

A draft equality impact assessment and draft rural impact assessment will be available on the website for comment, along with the proposal document.

Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, said: “We do not underestimate the impact that these proposals will have on both customers and staff and we are encouraging people to have their say regarding these proposals by completing the questionnaires either online – – or in the library.

“It is important that communities take this opportunity to support their local library and the vital services that they provide.”

Once the Libraries NI Board has taken its decision on the way forward regarding the Opening Hour Review proposals, there will be a further period of local engagement with customers in every library regarding the actual pattern of opening hours and any proposed changes would not be implemented prior to March 2012.”