BARRY-based students at St David’s Sixth Form College, Cardiff, have expressed concern about the impact of a planned 22 per cent cut in opening hours at Barry Library.
The Vale Council has proposed cutting the opening hours - currently including two evenings - from 60 per week to 47.
The students told Plaid Cymru’s town centre councillor, Ian Johnson, that the library provided them with a quiet and secure place to study, had a range of books and resources that helped them revise and was an alternative and convenient location close to home, rather than travelling to Cardiff.
Akshay Petta, who hopes to study economics after completing his college course and is the current president of St David’s Student Union, told Cllr Johnson: “Barry Library has a good selection of books here, relevant to our courses, and well-trained and knowledgeable staff who know where everything is.
“It’s also a more convenient location for us to study and revise after college finishes.
“Just knowing that you have a library close to home that’s open makes a big difference.”
Adele Saif, who hopes to study Spanish and linguistics, said that not everybody has a study room or quiet location at home.
“When you’re writing notes or revising, it’s important that you’re in a quiet environment.
“Going to the library means you can focus on studying and concentrate more on your work.
“If the library isn’t open in the evening, then you can lose that.”
Cllr Johnson, who has already spoken against the proposed cuts at a Vale lifelong learning scrutiny meeting, said: "I was impressed by the way that the students use Barry Library to revise their work and borrow books that might not otherwise not be available.
“Unfortunately, these students who are at college in Cardiff, like anybody who works outside Barry – or even works outside the town centre – will be severely restricted in their ability to physically visit the library to borrow books, read papers or use the facilities available.
“Barry Library is a central and convenient community facility, and, instead of cutting back on the hours by closing early, the council should be looking at ways of increasing income and usage.
“As a Carnegie library that has had substantial investment in recent years to modernise and re-invigorate the service, that is the least that the people of Barry deserve.
“It is a successful service, and recent reports show that the Vale library service is appreciated by 96 per cent of users and that the number of loans and visitors to libraries are higher than the Welsh and UK average.
“At a time when there is so much focus being put on literacy at all ages, there is still time for the council to rethink their plans.”