The cuts are set to be rubber-stamped by the County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Sean Woodward later this month.
proposal being recommended to the Executive Member at his Decision Day is to reduce the number of libraries for closure from ten to eight, and to make a reduction in opening hours of the remaining libraries averaging 20%.
The eight libraries that will be closed are Blackfield, Elson, Fair Oak, Horndean, Lee-on-the-Solent, Lyndhurst, Odiham and South Ham and the opening hours for others will be cut by 20%.
Councillor Woodward added: “These are difficult choices to have to make, and we continue to work hard to minimise the impact on residents. Our aim is to provide the best possible library service within our means – one that is fit for the future. And although this means we must reduce costs, it does not stop us from innovating and seizing new opportunities.
“For example, while digital take-up was strong before lockdown, even more people of all ages have signed up to digital library services during the pandemic. People have responded very positively to the different ways of accessing library services through the innovative use of technology.”