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Help us improve our library service by telling us what you think about our proposed opening hours

Published: 19 October 2022

Opening libraries at the most popular times of day and providing a Sunday service at our flagship Central Library in Ilford are two ideas being proposed as part of a new consultation.

Redbridge Council is inviting residents to give us their views on new opening hours for libraries across the borough. Feedback will inform final changes, which will take effect from January 2023.

The new opening hours have been suggested based on current user data showing when libraries are at their busiest. 

Cllr Kam Rai, Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council and lead member for Finance, Leisure, and Culture, said: “Library opening hours in Redbridge haven’t been reviewed or changed for ten years. In that time, we have improved library services substantially through a programme of refurbishments across all our libraries, most recently in Hainault, and investment in our digital resources and events programmes.

“We think the time is right to ask residents what they think of services, what improvements they would like to see, and what opening hours they would like to have.

“We have set out a series of proposed hours created using visitor data before and after the pandemic. They reflect when our libraries are most utilised.”

Pre-pandemic data shows our libraries are much quieter in the early mornings and the evenings. The proposals would provide consistency across the library network by opening all libraries at 10am. We also find that popularity often closely matches the opening times of nearby shops, where libraries are situated close to high streets and shopping areas. 

Over the last few years, Redbridge Council has developed combined libraries and gyms in South Woodford and Woodford Green, where opening hours have increased from less than 40 to 100 hours a week at each site, including opening on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The extended hours at these sites will remain unaffected by these proposals.

We are proposing to extend Saturday opening hours at some libraries and to open our largest and busiest library, Central Library in Ilford, on Sundays. We would like to do this because library usage is typically much busier at weekends in parts of the borough where libraries are located close to busy shopping districts and transport links. 

Though we propose reducing weekday evening hours at some libraries, we have ensured that libraries maintain some late evenings to support those users who prefer to come in during the week. 

We would like to invite your feedback on these proposals. These proposals are about making sure library opening hours are relevant to local communities and ensuring we can deliver services more efficiently and effectively. Tell us your views

Local communities highly value Redbridge Libraries and, in 2019/20, recorded the best children’s lending rates in London.