Longer library opening hours have been announced in Blackburn and Darwen in response to public feedback and the Council’s renewed commitment to boosting community health and wellbeing.
Blackburn Central Library will extend opening times until 4pm on Saturdays and Darwen Library will increase its Wednesday hours, open all day from 10am to 5pm. The changes will take effect in May.
The extended hours will allow for an enhanced programme of community activities for all ages.
Cllr Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing for Blackburn with Darwen, said: “The Council recognises that we are still facing difficult financial times and that community services are a lifeline for residents across the borough.
“Extending library opening hours forms part of our commitment to prioritising community health and wellbeing and strengthening the delivery of free leisure activities for local people and young families.”
Both libraries already offer a great range of activities from story and rhyme times to reminiscence sessions, book clubs, coffee mornings, digital support, holiday activities, IT learning courses and social drop-ins.
In addition to the existing wealth of e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines and online information services, library members can now also access an extended suite of digital offers for free and from any internet-connected device, including free online newspapers, a music download and streaming service, a language learning programme, and for younger users, a revolutionary story telling experience.
Cllr Talbot added: “Library membership is free and the Council has removed all overdue fines to encourage access to the thousands of book titles which support leisure and learning for all ages.
“Both Blackburn and Darwen libraries are vibrant community hubs and we hope that the extension of weekend opening hours will allow more people to access these welcoming and engaging environments, whether for education, leisure, to meet new friends or just to spend some ‘me time’ in a welcoming and safe space.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the dedication of our library volunteers who have made a huge difference in helping to ensure continued provision at our branch libraries.”
Residents who are unable to visit their local library can access the library’s Home Service and receive a fortnightly delivery of books and audio books to order.
Free family activities run each week, with special themed sessions during the school holidays.