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

Highfield Library will shut at 5.30pm and a replacement neighbourhood collection service will start in its place from Monday.

The collection service will be set up in the foyer of the Orchards building, in Highfield Road, which will also continue to be used as a social hub for the local community as a children’s centre and school, council chiefs said.

Users will be able to make special requests for books that are not on display using the library ordering service on a computer which will be in the foyer.

After the library closes its doors today, a selection of books will be transferred to the neighbourhood collection service with other titles finding their way to other libraries as part of a review of stock.

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.

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

The equivalent of 13 fulltime posts will go but no jobs are being lost though today’s closure, a council spokesman said.

Bolton Central Library is to open on Sundays in the next few months.