OPENING hours in many of the borough’s libraries are set to change next month.

It follows a review of services by Wigan Council and its partner WLCT in a bid to find £76 million savings by 2015.

As part of the ‘Next Chapter’, the council says it is standardising opening hours so it can provide a modern service for residents while meeting tough financial challenges.

Work already undertaken has included co-locating services in library buildings, relocating libraries to other buildings and introducing self-service - saving more than £1.4 million.

Clr Chris Ready, cabinet member for leisure, said: “Throughout this process we as a local authority have endeavoured to protect frontline services for the taxpayer and ensure quality services for our residents.

“We are proud that despite these huge cuts only one library closed as a result of these savings and that library is now open again and being run by Book-Cycle in Beech Hill.

“When services are at risk we will continue to work with WLCT and community groups to make sure every opportunity is taken to retain quality services despite huge cuts to our local authority budget.”

WLCT says it sought people’s views to identify periods when the libraries are most and least well used. As a result, the new opening times result in the average number of hours at each library reducing by 4.9 per week - a saving of £150,000.

Current opening hours in libraries run by volunteers will remain the same.

Stuart Murray, chief executive of WLCT, said: “Changing opening times to match customer demand ensures greater retention of individual libraries despite budget cuts.

“It is a practical solution to meeting the financial challenges faced by the local authority while retaining a quality service for the people of the borough.”

WLCT’s contract to manage leisure and cultural services, on behalf of Wigan Council, has reduced by £4.6m in the past two years and in 2012/13 it will be reduced by a further £1.8m to £10m per annum.

Visit your library to find out the new opening times or visit