LIBRARIANS have hit out at Wirral Council plans that they say will “decimate” the vital service even further.

The local authority is currently consulting with staff and unions about restructuring departments across the organisation in the hope of reducing employee costs by around £10 million.

But library staff – who were called into a meeting on Wednesday afternoon – feel such restructuring will leave Wirral without a viable library service, especially as plans could see just five qualified librarians left for the entire borough.

One librarian, who asked not to be named, told the Globe she has worked in Wirral’s libraries for 20 years and could not bear to see the service decimated by the council.

She said: “We were told that 60% of librarians are going to be made redundant. I’m concerned as we were merged with the One Stop Shop three years ago and all the library managers are on the same level as their supervisors but their staff are all safe.”

Wirral Council is currently consulting on changing the way the borough’s libraries operate as it desperately struggles to tackle an ever-widening funding gap and save £18m next year.

But while the cash-strapped authority says it is committed to ensuring all libraries remain open, budget options included in the Future Council consultation could see opening hours slashed.

“My concern is that the council is going against the 1964 Libraries Act,” said the librarian.

“We’re going to have five librarians for the whole borough and that’s before we have even had the consultation results on slashing the opening hours.

“I know that there is no money in the council, I understand that, but the library service is being decimated again.”

She added: “The council is trying to make more things accessible digitally but people need libraries as not everyone has a computer.

“No provisions are being put in place for the children. Literacy levels are so low – do they think that’s going to improve by not having libraries?”

A spokesman for Wirral Council said library and One Stop Shop staff have been briefed on how restructuring may impact on their service area.

“We have already stated that reducing employee costs inevitably means jobs have to be lost,” said the spokesman.

“We remain hopeful that the vast majority of people who leave the organisation as part of this restructure will do so voluntarily – compulsory redundancies will only be made as a last resort.

“The council has made a commitment not to close any of the borough’s 24 libraries. However, as one of the budget options which the council is currently consulting with the public on proposed changes to opening times at many libraries.

“We urge everyone to take part in the consultation by going to the Future Council page on our website.”

  • To have your say on the library proposals, and many others, click here.