Campaign keeps up pressure for more staffed library hours

May 08 2017

SAVE Hanham Library campaigners are keeping up the pressure in an effort to reduce cuts in opening hours due to come into effect in October.

SAVE Hanham Library campaigners are keeping up the pressure in an effort to reduce cuts in opening hours due to come into effect in October.

They have been attending meetings of Hanham and Hanham Abbots parish councils with the aim of persuading them to fund some of the staffed hours that will no longer be paid for by South Gloucestershire Council.

The parishes say it would be difficult to find the money during the current financial year because they have already set their precepts (the additional amount of council tax parishes can raise to fund amenities).

They now hope to organise an informal focus group meeting involving members from both parish councils as well as campaigners to find a way forward. 

Hanham Library, one of the best used libraries in the district, is set to have its opening hours cut from 41 to 26.

Most other libraries are set to move to an "Open Access" system, meaning they will be open seven days a week for users with swipe cards but will not always be staffed.

It emerged earlier this year that this system was not an option for Hanham, as steep steps at the back of the building would make it too dangerous to be open to the public when unstaffed.

The library campaigners say they do not want Open Access anyway but they are unhappy that the problem was not made clear at the time of the libraries consultation. This resulted in the parish councils deciding against increasing their precepts to fund extra library staff because they believed Open Access would be of more benefit.

Save Hanham Library group has complained to South Gloucestershire Council about this  aspect of the consultation process.

One of the leading library campaigners, Robin Champion, was standing for election to Hanham Parish Council on May 4 as an independent.