From Monday 30 September 2019, 25 or our libraries will have new opening hours which, although reduced, will ensure they are open when most people regularly use them.
All 25 libraries will have at least one late night opening and will continue to open on Saturdays. Where possible, some will no longer close at lunchtime to make it easier for people to visit when it suits them.
The revised timetable is part of our innovative Libraries for Derbyshire programme agreed last year, which set out our commitment to the library service and outlined a number of proposals to secure its future.
Leader of the council, Councillor Barry Lewis stated that the changes were necessary to ensure the library service survived and thrived and that no libraries would close while he led the authority.
One of the major changes to the service agreed as part of the Libraries for Derbyshire programme included transferring 20 of our 45 libraries over to community groups and organisations.
This element is well underway with groups and organisations already coming forward to run 10 of the 20 available libraries.
Reducing the opening hours at our libraries formed another central part of the Libraries for Derbyshire programme, as well as reducing the amount spent on new materials and library resources, considering the future implementation of Smart libraries and transferring the mobile library service to community management.
The changes to opening hours will save the service £400,000, helping it to achieve an overall savings target of £1.6 million by 2021.
To make it easier for people to use library services, changes are already being made, including making it simpler to join online. A simplified form will be available from Friday 27 September 2019, and anyone who joins online from this date will receive their library card, which can be used in any county library, in the post.
Any Derbyshire library service member can also access the huge range of eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines for free at their convenience.
The opening hours changes will also affect the 20 libraries which are being transferred over to community management.
In the 10 libraries where community groups have already come forward to express an interest, there will be no change to the current opening hours made by us at this time as it will be up to the groups that take them over. They would still need to meet the minimum requirement set for their library, which would include an evening and weekend opening if this is currently offered. It is anticipated that once established, community managed libraries may extend current opening hours as has been seen in other parts of the country.
Four libraries earmarked for community management where groups have yet to come forward already open slightly under 18 hours per week, and these opening hours will stay the same.
In the remaining 6 libraries earmarked for community management where groups have yet to come forward, there will be local public consultation to decide on the details around a reduction in hours to 18 hours per week, including which days and what specific hours the particular library will open to suit the community.
Council leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism, Councillor Barry Lewis, said:
“These changes are an integral part of the overall Libraries for Derbyshire programme and have been worked out so that hours are reduced at each library’s quietest time, to cause minimum disruption to users.
“To ensure they remain as accessible as possible, all 25 county council libraries will keep a late night opening and will be open on Saturdays, with possible lunchtime opening for users’ convenience. We’ve also increased what people can do and access online and made it easier to join the service online too.
“These changes will help to achieve the necessary savings, but will also ensure we have a library service which reflects people’s changing habits and how they are increasingly using new technology to access books and other information.”
Staff working at all 45 libraries have already been consulted about the changes.
Forward planning around the changes has seen library service posts kept vacant after someone has left and some positions have been filled by staff on temporary contracts. It is hoped that some staff affected by the reductions will also be successfully redeployed.
You can view current library opening hours and the new hours from Monday 30 September 2019.
The new timetable will also be publicised in each library.