Change to library opening hours agreed

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OPENING hours for Coldstream and Duns libraries and contact centres have now been agreed.

When Scottish Borders Council decided to combine libraries, contact centres and in some instance registrar services all under one roof in six towns across the region - Duns, Coldstream, Jedburgh, Kelso, Innerleithen and Selkirk - the impact varied from town to town and while there was little dissent in Coldstream, there has been considerable discussion about opening hours elsewhere.

Coldstream’s library and contact centre services hours will change to: Mondays (4-7pm); Tuesdays (2-5pm); Thursdays (10am to 12 noon); and Fridays (12-4pm).

Duns library and contact centre services are open for 33 hours: Mondays (10am -5pm); Tuesdays (1-7pm); Wednesdays (10am -1pm); Thursdays (10am-5pm); Fridays (10am-5pm); Saturday 9.30pm- 12.30pm.

The total number of hours which each site will be open was agreed by council in December and the proposed opening times were established following initial consultation with staff and community groups.

This consultation exercise took place in February and March and a total of 23 responses about the opening times were received - 11 from Innerleithen, two from Jedburgh, five from Kelso, three from Selkirk, two from Duns and none from Coldstream.

Respondents made a number of comments from supporting the proposed changes to suggesting a range of different opening times. These responses have been considered by the library and information service and customer services and slight amendments to the proposed opening hours for Innerleithen and Duns were proposed.

As a result of the consultation a slight change has been made to the proposed opening hours for Duns - it will be open one hour less on a Wednesday closing at 1pm rather than 2pm and open an hour longer on a Friday to 5pm.

As a result of the merger of Coldstream’s library and council contact centre the library service will be reduced to 12 hours a week, down from 13, with the library shut all day on Wednesdays. However, the town’s contact centre was only open one day a week - Fridays - and by combining the two services, customers will have better access to the contact centre once the new arrangements come into operation.

Library staff will receive training to enable them to provide both library and contact centre services, and a room in the town’s Gateway Centre that houses the library will also be made available for those requiring private or confidential interviews.

By combining the services, and in the case of Duns also bringing in the registrar service into the town’s library building, SBC expects to save £130,000 a year in revenue costs and a further £60,000 a year in property savings.

The sale of surplus to requirement buildings could bring in almost £260,000.

As part of the proposed changes, £360,000 has been set aside to make the necessary alterations, including work at Duns library.