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Geoffrey Theobald: A New Lease of Life for the Libraries of Brighton and Hove


I am very pleased that the Conservative Group’s support for the Libraries Extra Scheme has meant that residents are now able to use their local community library, even outside of staffed hours, simply by upgrading to a free Libraries Extra Membership Card.

This new service makes a mockery of the Labour Administration’s claims during the recent Hove Library saga that by voting to retain it in the Carnegie building, the Conservative and Green Groups would effectively be condemning up to 7 of the city’s branch libraries to closure. I said at the time that this was the worst kind of political scaremongering, for they must have known full well that these extended opening hours were to be rolled out within a matter of weeks.

Libraries Extra means that, rather than closing, most libraries will now be available seven days a week, more than doubling the amount of opening hours across the city from 362 to 768 hours per week.

I was always incredibly frustrated that Patcham Library in my ward, despite being the third most popular library in the city (after the Jubilee and Hove Libraries), was only open for three days a week. This always seemed to me to be a real waste of a much-valued local resource, but now, with the Libraries Extra scheme, I’m delighted that residents will be able to benefit from it seven days a week.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald OBE
Conservative Group Leader, Brighton & Hove City Council