LIBRARIES across the South Somerset area face cuts to their opening hours and this week the News is giving you the chance to have your say on the issue.

Following Somerset County Council’s announcement that £1.35m will be withdrawn from the libraries budget, they plan to reduce the opening hours of all libraries across the service.

While both Ilminster and Merriott Libraries have been saved from closure, they together with Chard and Crewkerne Libraries will have their opening hours slashed under the proposals.

South Petherton Library also remains under threat, and is due to have its county council funding removed in 2012.

The decision to slash library opening hours came despite advice from consultant on public library policy Tim Coates in a presentation held in Glastonbury on Friday, January 28.

Tim argued that savings could be better made through cuts to the service’s back office and via a more efficient book ordering system.

The London Borough of Hillingdon previously benefited from Tim’s work and has seen its library opening hours extended and sites refurbished despite making cuts to expenditure.

You can see a video of Tim Coates’ presentation on Somerset Libraries by clicking on the link at the bottom of this story.

Based on the issue we are opening up the phone and text lines to asking the following question: Would you rather see library cuts focused on opening hours or on savings to administration?

Here’s how you can have your say: By Phone: Call 0901-2210031 if you think cuts to the library service should focus on opening hours or call 0901-2210032 if you think cuts to the library service should focus on savings to administration.

By Text: Send your text to 80360 starting with COST leave a space, followed by ‘0031’ if you think cuts should focus on opening hours or ‘0032’ if you think cuts should focus on savings to administration.

Calls cost no more than 26p from a BT Landline. Calls from mobiles and some other networks may cost more. Texts cost 25p plus your normal operator text charge.

Telephone and text voting lines open today (Wednesday) and close on Sunday, February 27, at 11.59pm.

For full terms follow the link below.

The News will forward the results of the poll to Somerset County Council.