RESPONSES to LiveWire’s survey on library use shows residents asked for longer opening hours, more books and cafés.

The results of the survey, which was conducted between last December and January, were released under a Freedom of Information request.

LiveWire said the 4,238 responses informed plans to ‘modernise’ the library service and cut £300,000 from the budget by closing nine libraries across the town.

The survey showed just over 86 per cent of online respondents used their library to borrow books or ebooks.

Almost 40 per cent of people said libraries would be improved with more convenient opening hours.

But just one month after the survey was published, library hours across the town were slashed.

A spokesperson from LiveWire, said: “One of the drivers behind the proposals was what the public told us through the resident’s survey which received more than 4,000 responses.

“Residents said they wanted longer open hours and the proposals offer this via libraries in neighbourhood hubs and through introducing lending lockers which still allow LiveWire to deliver within the smaller budget they’ve been tasked to work within.”

More than 46 per cent of people said they stopped using the library because they buy books or borrow them from friends and LiveWire said this demonstrates a decline in library users.

But the survey also revealed the different activities residents use their libraries for, including playing chess, meeting friends, attending police and councillor surgeries, taking part in creative writing and exercise groups, viewing exhibitions and studying maps.

One respondent said they visited the library for information about tarantulas to share with classmates.

Residents also put forward their suggestions to improve the library with most people requesting a bigger range of books, more ebooks, longer opening hours and a café.

“People also said that they’d like more access to new books and ebooks. The proposals commit to investing in library resources and to move book stock around the town more effectively,” said a LiveWire spokesman.

“Residents asked for more café facilities within libraries and through the proposals, LiveWire has called for local businesses to work with them to help sustain stand-alone libraries.

“The proposals were put in place to start a wider conversation with residents about their needs for reading and learning and improving access to these services for all residents within the borough. All feedback received during the consultation will be taken into account before any final decisions are made.”

But many residents surveyed said they were already happy with the service and one commented: “I have been using public libraries for 60 years. I encouraged my children to use them and now have introduced my grandchildren to them and we all enjoy them. Long may they last!”