Libraries opening hours consultation

Closed 3 Apr 2016

Opened 11 Jan 2016


About East Sussex Libraries

East Sussex County Council provides a range of public library and information services across the county. It’s free to become a library member and gives you access to our full range of services. You don’t have to be a member to visit our libraries and browse our catalogue and there are currently lots of different ways to access our services to suit your needs, including:

  • 24 libraries…offering book, DVD and CD borrowing services, free computer and internet access (People’s Network), advice and training opportunities, community events, meeting rooms for hire and more
  • E-library at…browse the library catalogue, make enquiries or renew items, access e-books, e-audiobooks and a range of free online reference materials, 24 hours a day
  • Volunteer-run home library service…delivering books to those unable to visit libraries
  • Mobile library…visiting 88 stops across the county every three weeks, offering books for adults and children, DVDs, audiobooks and reference materials. The mobile library is wheelchair accessible
  • Community information website at …providing up-to-date local and community information, listing over 7,500 organisations across East Sussex and Brighton & Hove


How to take part in this consultation

We are asking for your views on our proposed changes to library opening hours in East Sussex. We are also using this opportunity to ask how you use, or would like to use, the library service. The consultation runs for twelve weeks, from 11 January to 3 April 2016. We will do all we can to make it as easy as possible for everyone to have their say.

There are a number of ways you can give your views:

  • By completing the survey online below
  • By picking up a copy of the survey in a library
  • By printing a copy of the survey


Completed paper surveys can be returned to the drop off points in libraries or posted back to us at:

Library Consultation, D Floor, West Block, County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes BN7 1UE

If you have a question about this consultation, need help to take part, or need a copy of the information in a different format or another language, please contact us by e-mail at or by phone on 01273 335165.


Why we are consulting

Funding for Local Government is reducing significantly. As a result, East Sussex County Council needs to save up to £90million by 2018/19. The Council is having to make some very tough choices affecting spending across all departments, including libraries.

We are considering a number of changes that could save £2million in the running costs of library services and contribute towards the County Council’s overall savings plan. This includes proposals to reduce opening hours. Importantly, we are also looking to make changes in the future that will enable us to create a more modern and sustainable library service.


Proposed changes to opening hours

To make the necessary savings this consultation asks for your views on our proposals to reduce library opening hours. These proposals represent an overall reduction of around 25% of current opening hours, which would save around £500,000 each year as part of the total service savings of £2million.

We have looked in detail at all of the data we hold about the delivery of library services and conducted new surveys of our customers. From this we know that:

  • 211,000 people are members of the library service in East Sussex
  • 94% of library users do not visit a library every day
  • Most library usage (85%) is between 10am and 5pm (including visits, transactions, Wi-Fi and People’s Network public computer usage)
  • More than twice the number of people visit the library between 10am to 11am than between 9am and 10am on weekdays
  • Only 2-4% of issues and renewals in libraries are made after 5pm
  • On Saturdays 95% more people visit the library between 10am and 11am than between 9am and 10am


Libraries are not well used at all times of the day. Therefore, in order to the lessen the impact, our proposals focus on reducing library opening hours at quieter times, before 10am and after 5pm, ensuring that people have access to services across the county when they are most used.

However, closing libraries at quieter times alone will not achieve the level of savings required. With the further changes to opening hours proposed in this consultation we believe it is still possible to provide a comprehensive library service across the county.

All libraries would continue to be open during the day, at varying times throughout the week. The 12 libraries currently open later than 5.30pm would be open on Thursday evenings until 6pm. Libraries will remain open on Saturdays. The E-library and the mobile library service are not affected by the proposals.


What happens next?

These are draft proposals and we welcome your views on them, as well as your alternative proposals for changes to opening hours. For example, in instances where we are proposing that a library should close for a morning or afternoon, do you think we have got this right? Are there alternative patterns of opening hours that would better suit your local community? In addition, we welcome any alternative proposals, other than reducing opening hours, which could help us achieve the savings we need to make from the library service.

Your views will enable us to develop final proposals for the County Council’s Cabinet in summer 2016. It is intended that any changes to opening hours would be implemented in autumn 2016.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. We welcome responses from library members and non-members.


  • All Areas


  • Residents of East Sussex


  • Libraries