Opening hours at Burnham-On-Sea Library are set to be cut by a fifth from this autumn, Somerset County Council has announced this week.

Burnham Library in Princess Street will see its opening hours reduced from October 1st as part of the council’s ongoing spending cuts.

The service will be open 7.6 hours less than at the moment, with hours reduced on every day except Saturdays. Monday’s opening hours will be reduced to a half day.

The new opening hours will be Mondays 10am-1pm (currently 9.30am-5pm); Tuesdays 10am-5pm (currently 9.30am-5pm); Wednesdays 10am-1pm (currently 9.30am-1pm); Thursdays 10am-5pm (currently 9.30am-5pm); Fridays 10am-5pm (currently 9.30am-6pm); Saturdays 9.30am-1pm (currently 9.30am-1pm).

The council has justified the changes by saying Burnham Library’s footfall first thing in the morning is low and that the facilities are ‘underused’ on Fridays after 5pm. It added that closing on Monday afternoons will minimise the impact of the reduced hours on the library’s busiest days.

The council also said this week that Burnham’s library is due to have new self-service facilities installed during 2012.

The county council’s cabinet member for community services, Councillor Christine Lawrence, said: “As with all services, the decision to reduce budgets for libraries has been very tough but is necessary because of the Council’s financial position. We need to provide the best service we can within the resources we have.”

Meanwhile, Highbridge Library, which was saved from closure after an agreement was struck in April, may receive £5,000 to help the takeover of the facility by the community. The cash could be used alongside the £16,000 set aside by Burnham and Highbridge Town Council to support the facilities.

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