Library opening hours extended

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LURGAN library’s opening hours are to be extended, following a campaign championed by the ‘MAIL’ and library users.

It was proposed that the Carnegie Street library should have its service reduced by 13.5 hours a week.

However, it has been revealed that the library will be open for an extra 3.5 hours a week.

The news comes after Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín announced that her department had found almost £2.5 million to protect library provision.

The move has been welcomed by users of the library.

Imelda Faloon, who compiled a petition of 2,000 signatures in December opposing the reduced service, said she was “over the moon”.

“A town like Lurgan needs this library, so it’s wonderful that its hours are no longer being cut,” she said.

“Not only do I use it everyday, my grandchildren find it very useful when it comes to studying for exams.

“It would be a shame to see the services reduced, as it has a lot of resources for people.”

76-year-old pensioner Joe French said he was “delighted” that the hours are being extended.

He said: “I use the library every day. I’d be lost without it.

“I see it as an essential service. It’s not just about getting books out. I use it to access the internet and to meet up with my friends.”

He added: “The staff there are great, and I’m delighted to hear this good news.”

John Patterson said it was “great news for Lurgan”.

He said: “I have always used the library a lot, but more so now in my retirement.

“When things were bad in Lurgan, the library was an oasis of calm and a place where all tribes were on par with each other.”

He added: “It’s only right that this decision has been made, because there is a wonderful group of staff down there.”

DUP councillor Carla Lockhart, who is on the board of Libraries NI, said she was glad to see “common sense prevail”.

“Lurgan Library is an excellent facility and public service for the people of Lurgan and further afield,” she said

“Lurgan library has, and continues to be, an extensively used service and I would commend all of the staff for their efforts in retaining and attracting new library users.”

“This is a good news story for the people of Lurgan and I would take this opportunity to encourage more people to use this very valuable service within our town.”