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Proposal to cut library hours scaled back following outcry

PLANS to cut the opening hours of the library in Scotland's national book town have been scaled back.

Dumfries and Galloway Council had come under fire after it said it intended to switch the library in Wigtown from a full-time service that was open for 40-and-a-half hours a week to one that is open 17.5 hours.

However, the local authority has now said that the library will stay open for 28 hours a week.

The move is being made as part of wider savings measures by the council and follows a public consultation.

Wigtown is the home of Scotland's biggest book festival, and the decision to cut its library's opening hours sparked fury from readers and authors.

Book festival director Adrian Turpin branded the council's proposal "myopic" and said that the resource was valued. A petition launched on the internet attracted hundreds of signatures within a few hours, with many calling for the library service to remain unchanged.

The proposals were agreed by members of the council's community and customer services committee.

Laura Mustian, owner of Byre Books in the town and chairwoman of the Association of Wigtown Booksellers said: "I'm glad that the council have reconsidered. It's not as good as it could have been but it is the best we could hope for."

Wigtown is one of a number of libraries which will see its opening hours reduced. Operating times in Langholm and Moffat are set to fall to 20 hours per week and Whithorn to 12.

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