THE first of Bolton’s five axed libraries will close in January.

Highfield Library in Farnworth, will shut on Friday, January 13, with the neighbourhood collection opening the following Monday.

The collection service will be set up in the foyer of the Orchards building, in Highfield Road.

A council spokesman said: “Library users at Highfield will be able to borrow books from the new-style service from January 16.

“The neighbourhood collection will be open to the public during the children’s centre opening hours, and people can return books to any library in the borough.”

Users will be able to make special requests for books that are not on display.

This can be done using the library ordering service on a computer which will be in the foyer. Ordered books can be delivered to the neighbourhood collection or any other library in the borough.

The decision to go ahead with the closure of five libraries in Bolton was made by the council on October 12.

The other libraries set to close are Astley Bridge; Castle Hill; Heaton and Oxford Grove and neighbourhood collections will be brought in over the next few months.

Letters are being sent to all active borrowers at Highfield Library to inform them of the new arrangements, and letters will follow to users of the other four libraries.

Bolton Council has received three applications from community groups wanting to run Astley Bridge Library, which it is considering.

The closures come as the council strives to save £400,000 from libraries as part of wider £60 million budget cuts over two years, enforced by a reduction in central Government funding.

The equivalent of 13 full-time posts will go.

But the council said it believes it can achieve this through “natural wastage”, with some posts currently vacant, and other staff putting themselves forward for voluntary redundancy.

Bolton Central Library is set to open on Sundays and some Bank Holidays from early next year.