Secret proposals by Cornwall Council to close the most-used library in the South West on its busiest day of the week have been branded as “daft”.
The council wants to close Truro Community Library from 1pm every Saturday.
The closure is one of a number of proposed cuts to services. The council refused to disclose where in the county it was proposing to reduce opening hours at libraries and one stop shops.
But the West Briton has seen a letter from a member of staff at Truro Community Library to Truro City Council asking for support in opposing a proposed closure every Saturday afternoon.
Crea Brooks, senior library and information assistant at the library, said in her letter: “Closing on a Saturday afternoon would greatly limit our ability to offer our services to those who work during the week and to the families who visit us, as well as impacting the income of the only library in Cornwall that actually generates any.”
The letter said the closure would have an effect not only on the library but also on other users of the building such as adult education, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Flying Aubergine Cafe.
Samir Mohamed, director of the Flying Aubergine, said the cut in hours could lead to the closure of the cafe.
He said: “It would have a serious impact on us and we are in communication with the council.”
The library in Truro was fully refurbished with the aid of a £1.4 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund four years ago and has two community rooms, a state-of-the-art digital editing suite and a junior library. The library is the most visited in the South West with almost 475,000 visitors in 2012-2013, according to figures issued by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
The income generated by the rental of the meeting rooms on a Saturday afternoon funds an activity budget for other libraries in Cornwall and a summer reading challenge.
Fiona Ferguson, Cornwall Council member for Truro Trehaverne, said: “It would clearly be daft to close the library on a Saturday afternoon when it’s going to lose the council money so I think that will need to be reconsidered.”
Adam Paynter, the Cornwall Council cabinet member responsible for libraries, refused to discuss the proposals with the West Briton. A council spokesman said the reductions in opening hours were proposed as a response to cuts in government funding.
The spokesman said: “All proposed opening hour changes are currently subject to consultations with staff and unions which mean that current proposals could be amended, it is therefore considered not appropriate to respond to the specific questions at this stage.
“Once any hours changes have been agreed, these will be publicised well in advance of implementation.”