EXTRA opening hours are set to be approved by county councillors for no fewer than 15 libraries in East Lancashire and the Chorley area.

Consultations have been taking place with users over several months over the increased availability of the county’s libraries, amid concerns that footfall is dropping.

Another five-and-a-half hours are set to be approved for Whalley, five apiece for Clayton-le-Moors and Rishton, four-and-a-half for Coppull and four for Barnoldswick and Oswaldtwistle.

Library chiefs also want to introduce two-and-a-half hours more at Accrington and two each for Clitheroe, Coal Clough in Burnley, Colne and Great Harwood.

Minor alterations of an hour for Ecclestion and Trawden and half an hour at Mellor and Burnley Pike Hill are also on the cards.

Steve Gross, the county council’s executive director for adult services and wellbeing, said in a report: “Part of the review involved examining hourly usage evidence to identify times when libraries were under-utilised, often in the evenings, and to investigate whether closing at these quieter times and opening instead for sessions likely to be busier, was feasible.”

For the most part, library users have been welcoming, although a vote taken by customers at Oswaldtwistle was against any incursions.

Managers still believe they can reorganise provisions there without any negative effect.

The underlying principle was that any of the altered timings did not result in more staff costs being incurred, and staff unions are being involved in the process.

Slightly different opening hours will be brought in at Briercliffe, Brierfield, Nelson and Rosegrove libraries, although there will be no overall gain or loss of hours there.

No change has been suggested for Adlington, Bacup, Barrowford, Burnley, Chatburn, Chorley, Clayton Green, Euxton, Haslingden, Longridge, Padiham, Rawtenstall, Read and Whitworth, ahead of a cabinet meeting this Thursday.