LIBRARY opening hours are set to be slashed across Worcestershire – with Stourport, Kidderminster and Bewdley libraries all to be hit by cuts.

The controversial proposals will mean seventeen libraries across the county will be affected with opening times reduced by a total of 78.5 hours a week.

In a leaked email seen by the Shuttle’s sister newspaper, the Worcester News, Worcestershire County Council could axe library jobs, introduce “unstaffed periods” inside the buildings and increase library fees as part of a fresh plan to save £1 million.

Stourport Library will be the worst hit in Worcestershire, losing a whopping 14 hours a week and shutting completely on Wednesdays.

While, Kidderminster Library will lose eight hours a week and Bewdley Library will lose three and a half hours.

Back in 2011 bosses hatched a target of saving £2.7 million from library spending by 2016, a figure they are only £300,000 short of now.

But due to serious financial pressures that target was increased to £3.7 million by 2018/19.

The email reveals how £500,000 could be saved by reducing opening hours, with a variety of other ideas also up for debate.

The document goes on to say bosses want to “introduce unstaffed periods in libraries”, with pilots set to get underway this year to test feasibility.

It also says the authority intends to “reduce and review staffing to reflect a fall in library participation”, but does not say how many roles could go.

Officers also want to raise library fees, hire more meeting rooms to bring in extra cash and demand up-front payments for transactions.

The proposals have been severely criticised by Worcestershire Labour group leader, county councillor Peter McDonald.

He said: “This is very, very damaging, it’s an assault on communities and an attack on anyone who needs to use a library.

“Late nights are going, Saturdays are being cut – they are chipping away at everything in a mad, penny-pinching attack.”

The Conservative leadership has pointed to its record of not closing any libraries despite the pressures. Unlike other parts of the country, the cabinet has managed to keep all its sites open, often by turning to volunteers to help run them and inviting other agencies to share space.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: “We are very proud of our record of keeping every library in Worcestershire open despite the financial challenges we are facing.

“We are currently consulting with staff regarding a number of proposals and seeking their views regarding future operations.

“No decisions have been made and we will consider the views of our staff before the proposals are discussed by the libraries board.

“We are determined any changes that have to be made have the minimum effect on people who use our libraries.”

There will be no changes to Worcester's £60 million Hive.

The email, from service improvement manager Carol Brown, also says how the council wants to save £250,000 from the Hive and £250,000 by extra library commissioning to complete the fresh £1 million of cutbacks.

It also stated that the reduction in hours have been drafted up after talking to library staff about quieter periods.

It said: “We have analysed library performance data indicating daily patterns of library transaction levels and public computer bookings.

“We have talked to the local library managers, using local knowledge of daily patterns of visitor levels and visitor activity, to try to minimise disruption to customer service and minimise disruption to co-located services and partners.”

Another idea includes allowing people to hire the mobile library service, which last year lost 38 per cent of its 420 stops after council chiefs deleted them.

The mobile service also reduced the frequency of its visits to once a month, instead of once every three weeks.

The proposals come a month after it was revealed how the number the paid library jobs across Worcestershire have plunged 49 per cent since 2010, with hordes of volunteers taking their place.

The council now has just 137 paid staff across its libraries compared to 272 six years ago.

The reduction in professional work has led to a huge rise in volunteers, which stands at 449 compared to 175 in 2010.


Kidderminster - loses eight hours, closing 5pm Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat Open 9.30am every day, closes 7pm Tuesdays (loses eight hours)

Stourport - Closes 1pm Saturdays, closes 5pm weekdays, shut all day Weds (loses 14 hours)

Bewdley - Closes 1pm Saturdays, opens 9.30am Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (loses 3.5 hours)

Hagley - opens 9.30am daily, closes 4.30pm daily, closes 1pm on Saturdays (loses seven hours)

Evesham - open 7pm on Tuesday, closes at 5pm Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri Closes 4pm on Saturdays (loses 5.5 hours)

Broadway - Closes 4.30pm Wed, Fri, closes at 4.30pm on Mondays (no late night), closes at 1pm Saturdays (loses three hours)

Pershore - Closes 6pm Tuesdays (no late night), closes at 4pm Saturdays, closes 5pm Mon, Thu, Fri (loses four hours)

Tenbury - Closes 5pm Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri (loses 2.5 hours)

Malvern - Closes 5pm on Wednesdays and 4pm on Saturdays, closes 5pm Mon, Thu, Fri (loses six hours)

Upton - Closes 4.30pm Mon, Wed, Fri, closes 1pm on Saturdays (loses 6.5 hours)

Redditch - Closes 5pm Mon, Tue (loses four hours)

Woodrow - Closes midday on Saturdays (loses one hour) Droitwich - Closes 6.30pm Tuesdays, closes 3.30pm Saturdays (loses 1.5 hours)

Bromsgrove - Closes 5pm Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, opens 10am on Saturdays (loses three hours)

Rubery - Opens 1pm-4pm Saturdays, closes 5pm Mon, Tue, Fri, closes 5pm on Thursdays (loses five hours)

Alvechurch - Closes 5pm Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri (loses two hours)

St John's - Closes 5pm on Tuesdays (loses two hours)