CLYDEBANK’S three smallest libraries are to see their opening hours cut in half with dramatic changes to services.

Faifley, Parkhall and Duntocher libraries will take the brunt of cuts for West Dunbartonshire as the council pledged to keep all eight of their libraries open and bring new services.

Details have now emerged after an analysis of timetables by the Post.

In a report to councillors on the corporate services committee next week, it hears how employee costs in West Dunbartonshire’s library service are the second-highest in Scotland per head of population, and £11,652 above the average.

One of the main reasons for this is the number of libraries in West Dunbartonshire and the fact these many libraries are often open at inefficient times of the day when demand from local residents is low, the council claim.

There is significant overlap in the one-mile catchment areas of Clydebank’s five libraries and all will have their hours affected in some way.

Late closings of 8pm will end and 7pm will be the new latest hours, while early openings will shift from 9.30am to 10am. Clydebank and Dalmuir libraries will see their total hours drop from 40 hours a week to 39.5.

But Faifley will be most affected, dropping from 37.5 hours a week currently to just 15 hours. Parkhall will see hours cut from 29.5 to 17, and Duntocher will drop from 25 hours to 17.

The current opening hours of the libraries are not detailed in the report to councillors, only the new proposed timetable.

Council bosses said a consequence of spending money staffing libraries at these quieter times is that there are limited funds available to spend on improving the service such as more books, better computer equipment and more attractive libraries.

This means the service can’t respond to the expectations of local residents, 76 per cent of whom agreed more money should be invested in the buildings and service in a recent survey.

They said the new timetable would fully accommodate valued existing services such as Bookbug, employability sessions and Code Club.

These changes would also free up savings which could be invested back into the service with an unprecedented £421,000 proposed in 2018/19 for improved children’s areas, better display areas, more welcoming help desks, and movable shelving enabling flexible use of space for activities and events.

The council has also made an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant of more than £400k to invest in transforming the inside of Clydebank Library into a state-of-the-art venue for residents.

Councillors will be asked to support this application by pledging to invest an additional £118k to the project if the bid is successful.

In addition, to help protect frontline library and cultural services as much as possible, councillors will also consider introducing means tested charges to the council’s music tuition service.

Currently most councils in Scotland charge for music tuition or instrument hire with fees ranging from £83 to £300 with an average of £205.

Under the proposals to committee, pupils studying for SQA exams and those in receipt of free school meals would continue to receive free hire. Those outwith, would be charged a £85 per year for hire, service and repair, making it the second lowest charge in Scotland.

Malcolm Bennie, strategic lead for communications, culture and communities, said: “These proposals would protect all eight branch libraries in West Dunbartonshire and match opening hours to when our residents use the service the most.

“It would also bring our running costs in line with the rest of Scotland, and create the opportunity for much-needed investment in our libraries to make them even more attractive places to visit.

“Supporting our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund could help transform Clydebank Library into a truly fantastic venue in West Dunbartonshire.

“Introducing modest annual fees for the hire and maintenance of music instruments, some of which can cost as much as £900, will allow us to protect frontline services in libraries and culture in West Dunbartonshire as much as possible.”

The proposals will be considered on November 29.