Sunday opening defended

DOZENS of Evening Star readers have said Sunday library openings should be scrapped, to help prevent council tax hikes.The new initiative of Sunday opening has proved a firm favourite among readers' ideas for the council's worst moneywasting schemes.

DOZENS of Evening Star readers have said Sunday library openings should be scrapped, to help prevent council tax hikes.

The new initiative of Sunday opening has proved a firm favourite among readers' ideas for the council's worst moneywasting schemes. Many felt the initiative was unnecessary, but some of the critics were pensioners who are free to visit libraries during the week anyway.

But at Ipswich Library on Sundays , a steady stream of users of all ages enjoy music, craft activities, and demonstrations on topics like lifesaving and diving skills - in an atmosphere designed to be different from the stuffy past regime where silence prevailed.

Anthony Crunden pops in to the library most days, but said it was useful being open on a Sunday.

The 52-year-old from Foxhall Road said: "I think it is a brilliant idea, which should have happened years ago. A lot of people can't get to the library during the week."

Ashley Halls was visiting with her six-year-old son Harrison, an Ipswich High School pupil.

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Mrs Halls from Bucklesham Road said: "We joined the library last Sunday and are here again today. I am really pleased that it is open on Sundays."

Guenever Pachent, assistant director of libraries and heritage, said: "The opening of libraries on Sundays has been a great success and we have had well over 25,000 visitors to our libraries on Sundays since we started opening them in August.

"Ipswich Library gets about 500 visitors every Sunday and we expect this to increase as time goes on.

"We have had a very enthusiastic response from people and the numbers of people coming along has shown that the new opening times are popular.

"By opening libraries on Sundays we are aiming to encourage more people to make the library part of their routine. Libraries on a Sunday have a different feel as we want to attract new groups of people.

"It is costing about £190,000 extra to open on Sundays compared with a total cost of some £10 million to run the library service. We also earn income from lending CDs and DVDs which helps us keep costs down.

"The cost in a library like Ipswich in Northgate Street is actually less than during the week as we are using self-service loan equipment so we need fewer staff."

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