Opening hours could be cut at Featherstone and Airedale libraries in move to save £300k

Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton MP Yvette Cooper reads to a child at Airedale Library.
Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton MP Yvette Cooper reads to a child at Airedale Library.

Opening hours at two of the district's libraries could be slashed in a cost cutting move by cash-strapped Wakefield Council.

The authority is proposing to shut Airedale and Featherstone libraries for one day a week, as part of plans to save £300,000.

Evening opening hours at libraries "with few visitors" could also be reduced, it said.

Coun Jacquie Speight, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “The financial challenge facing the council is huge and we need to save money from our annual libraries’ service budget.

"We are looking at ways that we can make these savings but still provide the services that residents need."

Airedale Library is currently open six days a week, including a half day on Saturday. The proposals include closing it on Thursdays or Fridays.

Featherstone library is open weekdays, except Tuesday, and Saturdays for half a day. Under the plans, it would also be shut on Fridays.

The council has launched a consultation on the plans, following its annual budget being approved by councillors at a meeting on Friday. The budget identified £300k of savings to be made relating to libraries.

The council said: "The proposals are to reduce opening hours at some libraries on some days as residents have previously said they’d prefer this to the alternative of permanently closing some libraries.

"The proposed reductions are focused on creating more consistency across similar sized libraries and times when visitor numbers are at their lowest."

The authority is also proposing to rearrange the district's mobile and home library service, to support residents most in need.

The consultation starts today 12 March and finishes on 31 March.

People can take part online at www.wakefield.gov.uk//librariesconsultation or by completing a questionnaire available at all council libraries.