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Issue 344 – Frome library opening hours to be reinstated

FROME Library’s opening hours, which were slashed last October as part of a cost-saving exercise by Somerset County Council, are to be reinstated. The county council also announced the introduction of ‘self-serve’ technology for library users to check in and out books and other items.

The decision approved a £600,000 capital investment in equipment across the county, along with the reinstatement of previously reduced opening hours in 23 libraries, including Frome.
After cutting the libraries’ opening hours last year, a Judicial Review was held which ruled that Somerset County Council must reinstate the axed opening hours.
The council will now consider the future of the service as part of a service review due to start in April. All of the council’s services are being reviewed over the next 18 months.
Cllr Christine Lawrence, cabinet member for community services said, “The investment in self-service technology will help modernise the Library Service in Somerset. However, given the extreme financial pressures all council services are under, we still need to consider the future funding and shape of libraries and this decision sets out the process by which that can happen.”
A spokesperson for Somerset County Council says that while the self-service technology will be installed during the 2012/13 financial year, no decision has been made over staffing levels in Frome’s library.
The spokesperson said, “The introduction of self-service facilities is expected to result in more efficient use of staffing. No detailed decisions have yet been taken on staffing levels.”

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