RESIDENTS are being asked their views on drastic cuts to library opening hours in a brief consultation that overlaps Christmas.

Council bosses had proposed slashing hours at Faifley, Parkhall and Duntocher and trimming them at Clydebank and Dalmuir.

But the corporate services committee delayed the plan saying there needed to be a public consultation first and that a new Skypoint should be considered for Faifley instead of its current library.

Yet the consultation, launched Tuesday and announced just as the Post went to press, includes nothing about Faifley plans and only lists the new proposed opening hours, not the existing timetable. Those times were omitted from the recent committee report as well.

The SNP motion said "further work" was needed to ensure hours "meet the needs of our communities".

The consultation runs for 15 days in total, only 10 working days at the busiest time of year, ending on December 28.

A letter from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has already blasted the reduction in library hours and residents and opposition politicians have called the consultation on the changes to extend until January 9.

Labour education spokesman Councillor John Mooney said: “This has been refused on the grounds of operational convenience. My position is that the interests of my constituents are of paramount importance.

“I find it deeply ironic that this allegedly open and caring SNP administration launched this proposal during National Book Week and the week before our HMIE inspection on raising attainment. Now some people are complaining that they are trying to bury this consultation during the festive period.

“The SNP have form in this area. In their last council administration they closed down Faifley Library. The Labour administration re-opened it after a successful community campaign in which I was involved as chairman of Faifley Community Council.

“Libraries are an important part of education for people of all ages and a vital community resource, not a commodity to be chopped and changed arbitrarily. The librarians’ letter states that ‘the reduction in opening hours would severely damage the ability to meet community needs’.

“I could not agree more. Finally, I encourage you all to have your say before this council takes it away.”

On the council's social media announcement of the consultation residents were also critical.

Graeme Phanco said: "You thanked me for my answers and views, I was only able to answer your questions, there was no opportunity to give my views. I wouldn’t consider a library closing at 18:00 to be an evening opening, some workers aren’t home by then."

And Jennifer Gorman wrote: "The questions asked which days and times (plural) but you could only choose one option. We use the library in various days and often for more than the hour window offered as an option. Kids coming after school get there about 3.30 and we stay there sometimes until after 5 but I couldn't give this answer.

“A very unfair survey with very narrow parameters."

Councillor Danny Lennie told the Post: "Several people are complaining about the library consultation document saying the questions are loaded in favour of cutbacks.

"The consultation period is far too short given Christmas is upon us. This clearly needs extended. If that means delaying a report to council, then so be it.

"We must never bully through vital decisions like these."

The council said the time was more than enough.

A spokeswoman said: “It has been launched in December in order to allow us to gather the views of library users, consider any changes and prepare a new report that is ready for issue on January 25 for the corporate services committee.

“We are confident that we have enough time to consult key user groups and general library visitors using our established email lists, social media, local media and through face to face engagement with our branch coordinators and assistants.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, convener of corporate services, added: “There's no doubt that we need a new timetable. The existing one is more than five years old, expensive to operate and leaves branches open at times when they are barely used.

“This proposal retains all eight branches across West Dunbartonshire and creates savings which can then be reinvested to improve the branches and the experience for our residents. That is a sensible and positive approach to take.”

The consultation can be found at until December 28.