Surviving libraries see hours cut due to lack of funding

Data gathered by the Labour Party has revealed that libraries across England that have avoided closure after funding cuts have significantly reduced their public opening times.

Over the past eight years, 117 local authorities have jointly cut access to books and other public services by more than 230,000 hours, while over half of the 2,208 libraries that submitted information admitted they had shut their doors for 21 per cent of the time they were normally open in 2010.

Released ahead of national Libraries Week, the figures highlight the level of damage being inflicted on the library network since austerity was introduced. Kevin Brennan, the Shadow Culture Minister, pledged that a future Labour government would put funding back into English local authority coffers and allow them to reinstate proper library standards.

Each library has reduced its hours by an average of 107, or six per cent, since 2010. Across the sample, total annual opening hours fell from 4,006,592 in 2010 to 3,769,747 in 2017.

Brennan said: “Every lost library hour is a lost opportunity for learning and this data reveals that Tory austerity is taking its toll on libraries up and down the country. The decline in opening hours is a travesty this government should urgently remedy. Libraries Week is a time to appreciate all the things our public libraries do for us; providing welcome support to everyone, from toddlers to pensioners.”

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