DETAILS have emerged of what Bury residents think of a proposed shake-up of the borough’s libraries.

In June, the Bury Times reported Town Hall bosses were considering making major changes to the borough’s library services to save cash.

The council has not ruled out closing some libraries and laying off some staff.

Some 3,536 took part in a consultation process and 500 others were interviewed over the telephone.

Last month, the council’s support services representative Cllr Sandra Walmersley said: “The consultation has shown clear support for the six principles on which to base the future of the library service.”

Those principles are: Providing residents with access to libraries and electronic services, meeting the needs of vulnerable residents, using resources efficiently by reducing costs, investing in technology, welcoming the contribution of volunteers and creating community spaces.

However, the council did not publish the views people expressed in the consultation, so the Bury Times asked for the data under Freedom of Information law.

The council has released 1,068 views, which give an insight into how much people value the library service.

The library was described as a “lifeline” by one interviewee, while another said: “Views include: “Don’t close local libraries, think of the visitors,” and “The library is a lifeline for many people.”Another said: “It’s not just about visitor numbers, it’s the difference it makes to people’s lives and that includes young and old.”

Many raised concerns about the possibility of staff being replaced by volunteers.

“People should be paid to run libraries,” said One resident said: “Volunteers are not always as capable or well-informed as paid, purposefully employed people.”

There were many appeals to save particular libraries, such as Whitefield, Prestwich, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Sunnybank.

One resident said: “We use Whitefield Library as a family. The staff are very friendly and provide an excellent service.

“We feel that it is an invaluable local facility.”

Another added: “I detect an underlying agenda of cost-cutting and redundancies. Nothing can replace Whitefield Library with its well-stocked shelves and friendly, helpful, qualified staff.”

“I use Sunnybank Library. Staff are extremely friendly and helpful, often going above and beyond. They remember my daughters’ names and encourage learning,” said one library user.

Another said: “Prestwich Library is a vital space that I have visited regularly with my children since they were babies.”

“They love choosing new books to read and respect being in the library and the peaceful place it is.”

Bury Cabinet was due to discuss the matter at a Town Hall meeting last night. No decision will be made until all views have been considered.