PROPOSED changes to the opening hours of South Lakeland libraries are the focus of a consultation launched today by Cumbria County Council.

The proposals would affect libraries in Kendal, Milnthorpe, Ulverston, Grange, Ambleside and Windermere.

Libraries in Kirkby Lonsdale and Sedbergh and Library Links in Arnside, Coniston and Dent and book drops at Burton-in-Kendal and Holme are not affected by the proposal.

Cllr Ian Stewart, Cabinet member for Community Services, said: “The council is committed to libraries. They are about more than just books. They are community hubs providing access to a huge range of resources, experiences and learning.

MORE TOP STORIES: “But like all council services, government cuts have put financial pressure on libraries. We’ve made every effort to manage this without affecting the service the public receives and as a result Cumbria has avoided the wholesale changes to library services which have occurred elsewhere in the country.

“But on occasion there have been days when there have been unplanned library closures because cover staffing has not been available. This is something we’d rather avoid, we want people to know for certain when libraries will be open.

“Alongside this we’ve also been reviewing when people are actually using our libraries. This is to make sure we use our resources most efficiently.

“Taking these issues into account we are now proposing some limited changes to opening hours that reflect these two issues.”

The changes will not lead to staffing reductions, staff will continue to work the same hours, but more of these will be spent on essential operational activity ‘behind the scenes’ while the library is closed to the public. This time is needed to allow libraries to continue to offer a first class service when they are open.

Full details of the consultation can be found online at or by visiting any South Lakeland library. The consultation closes on June 17.

Staff will be on hand to answer questions and listen to feedback from the public at the following times: * Kendal Library: June 1 10am-12pm, June 810am-12pm, June 16 10am-12pm * Ulverston Library: June 2 10am-12pm and June 10 2-4pm * Grange Local Link: June 7 10am-12pm and 2-4pm * Windermere Library: June 13 2-4pm * Ambleside Local Link and Children’s Centre: June 8 10am-12pm * Milnthorpe Local Link: June 3 2-4pm