‘Library cuts slow down research into my local area’

A local government member tells us about the effect of cuts on his community’s archive


Our regular ‘You tell us…’ feature on the SOS blog shares your experiences of cuts happening to local services across the UK and the impact this has on you or your community.

This week, a UNISON member tells us about the impact of cuts on his local archive service.

My local studies archive service is an important source of the history of my local area and is vital for keeping our community’s knowledge of our local heritage alive. For me and many others it’s an important part of our local library service.

Our archives centre is state of the art and was only built a few years ago, with the help of lottery funding. But the centre has been forced by government spending cuts to regularly reduce its opening hours.

In January this year the centre had to cut its hours again. Now it is only open from 10-5pm three days a week and on Saturday mornings for just three hours. Before the latest round of cuts the centre would stay open until 8pm on Tuesdays, and originally it was open for even longer than that.

I’m doing some research into my local area and the archives are essential to me. Now, because of the shorter opening hours caused by cuts, anyone who works full-time has very little opportunity to use the centre – just three hours if you can get there on a Saturday. This is a terrible waste of a magnificent resource that our community is very proud of.

I work for the same council that was forced by central government cuts to reduce the archive centre’s opening hours. We have already lost half our staff and now the council is consulting on reducing terms and conditions for those who are left and struggling with increasing workloads and low pay. Meanwhile, the government lets billionaires and Google get away without paying their share. Where’s the fairness in that?


We want to hear more of your stories. Go to tell us your story and let us know what’s going on with services in your community