A SEVERE cut to library opening times in Denbighshire will "impact the most vulnerable", says an MP. 

Denbighshire County Council is proposing a 50 per cent reduction to the opening hours of all eight of the county’s Libraries and One Stop Shops.  A consultation on the plans came to a close on October 30.

Responding to the consultation, Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, voiced "serious concerns" about the impact a reduction in the service would have on communities, and said he has been contacted by many residents who share his concerns.

He said: "I appreciate that this proposal is part of a wider cost-cutting exercise to realise significant savings the council needs to make. However, I am concerned that reducing the operating hours of these vital facilities would incur a significant and detrimental impact on the lives of large numbers of residents who rely on the many services they provide.

“Many residents have written to me in opposition to a reduction in library opening hours.

“Denbighshire is home to a high proportion of older residents, the socially-isolated, those living in poorly-accessible rural areas and people on low incomes. As Denbighshire County Council's own website promotes, apart from the obvious wide-reaching benefits of book-borrowing and research services, the county’s libraries offer residents many other valuable amenities, such as free public internet access and Wi-Fi, photocopying, printing, scanning, and cloud-printing. Some rely on these services to help them look for work or to progress applications for appropriate support.

“I have been in contact with people who depend on libraries to maintain contact with their families, friends and services – owing to the good quality internet access. The reduction in library opening hours would prove difficult for those without adequate access to internet at home.

“In addition, the One Stop Shops offer help and information about council services, the Blue Badge application service, and cash payment kiosks; these being all the more pertinent now that so many of Denbighshire’s council offices and bank branches have closed.

“Libraries are an essential tool in the battle against loneliness – whether among the older generation, lone workers, or new parents - providing meeting rooms and co-working spaces and children’s rhyme time sessions. It is also important not to forget the voluntary groups and organisations which run their own vital services from within – for example the valued meetings of the reader’s group in Rhyl library.

“Furthermore, the Welsh Reading Group, Sgwrs a Sangria, promotes the Welsh language as much as our literature, culture, and heritage.

“Our libraries served an important function as warm hubs for local people last winter. They provided somewhere people could sit quietly, read or interact with others over a hot drink - a welcome facility for the elderly, in particular, who were worried about their heating bills.

“Libraries enable and encourage education, professional and personal development, entertainment, leisure activities, companionship, and more.  They connect people with books but they connect people with people and at no time has that been more crucial than now and nowhere is that more important than here, in Denbighshire. The reduction in service would impact the most vulnerable in our society.

“In addition, of course, we must not forget the staff whose livelihoods also depend on these services and would be severely financially impacted by the reduction to their working hours.

“In summary, our libraries and One Stop Shops are indispensable, and I firmly oppose the proposition to reduce their opening hours.”

The local authority, which has launched a consultation, is facing a funding deficit during the coming financial year and like other local authorities across Wales, needs to find "significant savings" to ensure it can continue to deliver essential services.

Proposals will see a 50 per cent reduction in opening hours across Denbighshire’s Library Service. All libraries will remain partially open so that services can continue to be available for residents, albeit at a reduced rate.

Proposals to reduce other elements of the service, e.g., Home Library Service are included in plans.


The cut in hours is set to impact library staff.

Councillor Emrys Wynne, Cabinet Lead Member for Welsh Language, Culture and Heritage, said at the time: “Over recent years, Denbighshire County Council has worked hard to build a comprehensive service, and the council is hugely disappointed that it is unable to continue with this service in its entirety. However, this is the economic reality that is affecting all local authorities at present.

“Unfortunately, this model will have an impact on libraries staff across the service and the council will meet with staff and Trade Unions to fully consult on these proposals.

“The model put forward aims to present a fair and equitable service across the County. By ensuring that all libraries remain open in some capacity, the council hopes it will be able to return to a full service in future when the economic climate is more favourable.”