Reduced opening times are on the cards for Leeds libraries

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Plans to slash the opening hours of libraries across Leeds look set to get the green light next week.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds City Council has been consulting the public on the best way forward for its library service in the face of severe budget pressures.

Now members of the local authority’s executive board are being asked to approve a package of money-saving measures which has been put together using the results of the consultation.

A report compiled for next Wednesday’s executive board meeting shows the shake-up would cut the combined weekly opening times of 33 libraries in Leeds by 187 hours, or 12 per cent.

The hardest hit libraries would include Gildersome, with a reduction of 48 per cent, Whinmoor (33 per cent) and Dewsbury Road (23 per cent).

Leeds Central Library would shut an hour earlier on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. No sites are due to close down completely.

The report reveals the measures would save the Labour-run council around £300,000 per year.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, the authority’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said: “We have listened to every comment submitted in the consultation, and subsequently tailored our final recommendations of the opening hours at each library to these responses in our proposals which I hope will be approved.”

Armley and Middleton libraries will see no change in their opening hours under the proposals.

Fears of imminent Thursday closures for Bramley Library have also been allayed.

Calls for the current opening hours at Armley and Bramley to be retained have been led by Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West.

She said today: “I am delighted that the council has done this consultation and listened to the thousands of people who have joined the campaign to protect Armley and Bramley libraries. The new proposals are a lot fairer on local people.”

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