Senior library assistant Irene Varnas with some of the toys available for borrowing at Howard.
Senior library assistant Irene Varnas with some of the toys available for borrowing at Howard. Contributed

Changes to Fraser Coast libraries' opening hours

LIBRARY opening hours in Burrum Heads and Howard will be extended next year after the Fraser Coast Regional Council voted in favour of the motion at Wednesday's meeting.

Opening hours have also been changed on Saturdays from 8am to 11am to 9am to 12pm to help meet peak customer demands.

In Howard, the opening times will increase by nine hours a week, while Burrum Heads Library will be open for an additional 13 and a half hours.

Keeping the libraries open for those additional hours will cost $50,790 a year.

During the financial year from 2018 to 2019, there were 10,858 visits to the Howard Library from people wanting to use the resource, while in Burrum Heads there were 11,436 visits.

"Residents have been asking for the change which will also open up a range of library programs and improve residents' engagement with council," Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said.

"Almost 46% of respondents to a survey on how we could improve services at both libraries wanted the opening hours extended."

From January the libraries will open from 9am to 5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 9am-12pm on Saturdays.

"Residents will also be able to access stand-alone kiosks to pay rates and dog renewals and access other Council services," Cr Seymour said.

"Libraries in our smaller communities are more than just places to get a book.

"They are community hubs which provide diverse services and functions, enhancing liveability, online access and social engagement for residents and visitors.

"The extension of opening hours will encourage more use of the facilities and services by new customers as well as allowing children to use the services after school."

The motion was passed unanimously.

The implementation of the new hours is planned for January 2020 following the approval of funds in the budget.