Fife libraries face shake-up in opening hours

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Fife’s libraries are facing a shake-up in their opening hours.

Staff are being consulted as part of a “re-visioning strategy’’ which aims to make more effective use of resources and facilities.

Fife Cultural Trust – the arm’s length organisation which manages the facilities plus theatres and museums on behalf of Fife Council – stressed no libraries were under the threat of closure.

While consultation with staff continues over the impact of any changes, the Trust has committed that every library, regardless of size, will have at least one morning, afternoon, evening and weekend session.

June Souter, head of libraries service development, said of the review: “It simply shows our commitment to opening our libraries at times that would allow all potential user groups to be able to access a library, so parents with babies at toddlers in the mornings, full time workers in the evening, children after school and families at weekends.”

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The Trust manages 29 libraries across the Kingdom, and it wants to harmonise current opening hours which currently vary from building to building, with some offering evening and weekend sessions while others do not.

It argues that the current model “could be a barrier to meeting the needs of customers and communities.”

A 90-day consultation with staff started on September 3.

Details of the opening hours should be made available to customers after Christmas with a view to implementation next April.

The moves follow consultation with library users last summer which produced a document which has shaped much of the current thinking on opening hours.

The Trust said that, as well as the need to review services and improve its current offering, it became clear within the public consultation that present library opening hours “could be a barrier to meeting the needs of customers and communities.”

It also felt the mix wasn’t right in some areas to get people through the doors.

June added: “This public consultation on the future of ONFife’s library services combined with research into best practice has given us a much better understanding of what Fifers want from a modern library and what is required to ensure our libraries remain sustainable and meet the needs of customers and communities

“Looking at how best opening hours can support the delivery of the new vision for Fife’s libraries is an important and necessary part of this work.’’

She said the Trust could not comment on changes to any specific library or the impact on staff while the consultation process was taking part.