CAMPAIGNERS have branded plans to replace libraries with neighbourhood collection points as “a shambles”.

The collections would provide access to a number of services offered by libraries and would include around 300 books.

The council says a small collection of popular fiction and non-fiction titles could be held. Possible venues suggested include the Oldhams Estate UCAN Centre, local schools, and within the Orchards Centre in Highfield Road, Farnworth.

But campaigners say the collections would cut the choice of books available by 97.6 per cent and could leave some readers without any service for a while.

Campaign secretary Ian McHugh said: “This is an empty alternative that will in no way meet the range of needs that local people have.

“Although this is part of the council’s preferred cost saving ‘option one’, they have not said how much the new service will cost to set up, what the ongoing rental, staffing and transport costs will be, or indeed how the service will be staffed. Will it be by volunteers, or by existing community centre staff ?

“This is a shambles of a proposal.

Local people need a proper library service, not a small pile of books in the corner of a community centre.

“A taster is no substitute for a balanced and nutritious diet.”

Campaigners are encouraging people to complete consultation forms by September 16 and insist on keeping libraries open.

The consultation forms inform residents of three possible options which include retaining Bolton Central Library, changing opening hours at some libraries, closing some and introducing neighbourhood collections.

Other options include cutting all library opening hours by 33 per cent with staff reductions or cut all hours by 48 per cent and lose more staff.

Bolton Council’s favoured option is to close some libraries and introduce the collections.

Consultation forms can be found at