Hope for library

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CUTBACKS to opening hours at Lurgan Library may be averted, it has been announced.

Libraries NI are to meet today (Thursday) to decide on the proposed reduction in opening hours.

It follows an announcement by culture, arts and leisure minister Caral Ni Chuilin that her department has found almost £2.5m to protect library provision.

Although many smaller libraries around Northern Ireland will see a reduced service, it’s believed Lurgan Library could be one of those to benefit from the extra cash.

Last year, it was feared that Lurgan Library’s opening hours could be reduced from 53.5 hours to just 40.

Ms Ni Chuilin said she had found the cash by re-allocating her own budget over the next four years.

“I have listened intently to the concerns of the public, and I will find a way of protecting our library provision,” she said.

“Easing the pressure on libraries will mean that Libraries NI does not need to make such major reductions in opening hours.”

Last month, pupils at Tannaghmore Primary School joined the campaign to save Lurgan Library, writing letters en masse in support of the ‘MAIL’s campaign to halt the proposed cut in opening hours.

Anne Davey, the teacher of the Primary Six class involved, said she was “delighted” with the announcement.

“The library provides a vital service for the whole town,” said Mrs Davey.

“The pupils at the school get so much from the place, and it would be awful to see its opening hours cut.

“Tannaghmore uses the library every week, and the children see it as an essential part of their education.”

She continued: “Getting involved in the letter writing campaign has raised their self esteem. They now know that they can make a difference and that they do have a voice.”

Libraries NI is due to meet later today to decide on the reduced opening hours.