SOME libraries will have their hours cut when they open back up to the public, St Helens Borough Council has confirmed.

The council carried out a review of the library service’s opening hours earlier this year in preparation for a new town centre library at The World of Glass.

Following the review, a decision has been taken through delegated powers to approve the new staffing structure.

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This will see hours reduced at some sites and increased at others, although the council says there will be no reduction in the overall service.

Five members of staff have also taken voluntary redundancy as a result of the review, a council spokesman confirmed. 

The new library at The World of Glass was originally expected to open in winter 2019, but it was revealed in March that this had been delayed.

The project faced another set-back weeks later after the council was forced to close all libraries, as the part of the government’s coronavirus response.

St Helens has been without a library for more than three years, following the closure of Central Library, based in the Gamble Building, in March 2017.

It is still unclear when the new library will open, but the council has insisted it is still “committed” to the project.

A St Helens Borough Council spokesperson said: “St Helens Council is committed to providing library services in St Helens town centre and as part of plans to open a temporary library at The World of Glass a review of library opening hours has been completed following analysis of the times our libraries are used the most.

“This will see hours more standardised across sites so while some may see a reduction in opening times others will see their opening times increase.

“There is no reduction in overall service.

“However, this has resulted in changes to the contracted hours for some posts and therefore staff have been consulted throughout the process and as part of this five staff have chosen to take voluntary redundancy and we’d like to say a huge thank you to them for their service over the years.”

St Helens Star: The new town centre library is due to open in The World of GlassThe new town centre library is due to open in The World of Glass

No date has been given for when libraries could reopen again, although it will be no earlier than July 4, according to the UK government’s roadmap to lift lockdown restrictions in England.

Throughout the pandemic, residents have still been able to access library services online and via the council’s home delivery service.

When they do reopen, it is likely that a number of restrictions will be in place due to social distancing guidelines, with residents encouraged to continue accessing services remotely.

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A spokesman for St Helens Borough Council said: “Our libraries are currently closed due to COVID but our members can still take advantage of a number of library services which are still operating including the home delivery library service, as well as online subscriptions to eBooks, comic and magazines which are still available at”