Call for libraries to be brought under local council ownership

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons
Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Councillors at the new Super Council are to initiate talks with Libraries NI on ways to combat moves to shorten opening times.

Ulster Unionist Cllr Arnold Hatch called on the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council chief executive to talk to Libraries NI on what can be done.

Austerity cuts have led to the closure of Gilford Library and significant reductions to the opening hours at Lurgan and Portadown libraries.

DUP Cllr Carla Lockhart said it was ‘regrettable’ and ‘very disappointing’. “It is important that the council is opposed to these cuts,” she said.

Sinn Féin Councillor Brendan Curran said Libraries NI was ‘overheavy at the top and limited at the bottom’.

Cllr Hatch called for discussion on possibly taking over running local libraries.

He said there is a duplicity of provision and it should be brought under the auspices of local government.

“Let’s take a look at how we can help Libraries NI and look at the future of libraries here,” Cllr Hatch proposed.

His views were supported by his party colleague, Cllr Sam Nicholson.