St Albans library cuts slammed

Council tries to save �2 million by reducing library hours

A BOOKWORM has criticised the county council for reducing opening hours at libraries throughout St Albans as she is now struggling to indulge her love of the written word.

The Hertfordshire County Council has altered library services and slashed opening hours in a bid to save about �2 million a year, yet keep all of its libraries open across Herts.

Jill Goodbun, who works as a receptionist in central St Albans from 9.30am until 6pm, said that when she recently attempted to return 12 books to Marshalswick Library she discovered that it now closes an hour earlier, at 6pm.

She has been using local libraries for about three decades and said: “I am very disappointed that the library opening hours in St Albans have been changed without my realising it. It is now very difficult for me as a full-time worker to go to an open local library.”

Jill said it was, “very inconvenient” to find the library doors shut, having lugged so many books there.

Libraries at Radlett, Harpenden, London Colney, Marshalswick, Redbourn and Wheathampstead are now closed two days instead of just on Sunday. Hours have been markedly reduced in Marshalswick, St Albans, Radlett and Harpenden.

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Jill added: “People who work full time are having a terrible time getting to them.”

The council’s executive member for libraries, Chris Hayward, said: “We reviewed our library service in light of the financial pressures we currently face and, unlike many other local authorities, managed to avoid closing a single library.

“However, in order to save money we had to reduce opening hours. While I appreciate that this means some people may have to change the way they use the service, we felt it was most important to prioritise keeping all libraries open and offering a full service.

“Although Marshalswick closes an hour earlier on weekdays, it is open for three hours longer on a Saturday, from 9am to 4pm.”