BOLTON Central Library is to open on Sundays and bank holidays from next month.

The library and museum in Le Mans Crescent will open on Easter Monday, April 9, and then again on Sunday, April 15.

It will then open every Sunday from then on, between 10am and 4pm, and on four other bank holidays, May 7; the Queen’s Jubilee, June 4 and 5; and August 27.

The move comes following a review of the library service during which Bolton Council pledged to increase the opening hours of Central Library from 60 to 65 hours a week and to include Sundays and certain bank holidays.

As the library shares the building with B o l t o n M u s e u m , A q u a r i u m a n d Archive it means visitors to the town centre can also enjoy access to “a host of exciting exhibitions and attractions”, the council said last night.

A pilot scheme in 2009 saw the building open for four Sundays during August, which coincided with the Ironman UK event and a food market in Victoria Square.

Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “During the review of the library service we highlighted Central Library as the hub of the new network.”

The recent half-term week saw about 11,000 visitors through the doors of the library, 8,500 to the museum and 4,000 to the aquarium.

In addition to the new opening times in Le Mans Crescent, Hall i’ th’ Wood historic Hall will open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from April 3, from 10am to 3pm and noon to 4pm respectively.

Smithills Hall will also see an increase in its opening hours from April. Visitors, including families and schools, will be able to visit Wednesdays to Fridays between 10am and 3pm, and Sundays from noon to 4pm.

The review of Bolton’s library service means five branch libraries will close, saving the council £200,000 a year.

Highfield, Castle Hill, Oxford Grove, and Heaton libraries have already closed, with Astley Bridge due to close on April 5.

The axed libraries have been replaced with self service collection points, with about 800 books each.

The new neighbourhood collections are open five days a week and users can also get free internet access and order books from Bolton’s collection.