Fifty-one jobs will be lost in Wolverhampton’s library service, it emerged today, under moves to save £1.7 million.
Some compulsory redundancies will be ‘inevitable’, council chiefs have confirmed.
It comes just days ahead of opening times at 13 libraries in the city being slashed from 656 hours per week to 421 hours.
The total number of staff working in the city’s library service will drop from 138 to 87 under the changes.
Paul Brown, spokesman for Wolverhampton City Council, today said: “A total of 34 members of staff have either opted for voluntary redundancy or have chosen compulsory redundancy because it offered more favourable terms.
“Of the remaining posts which will be deleted, a number have been held vacant since the restructure was announced, and while it is inevitable that there will have to be some compulsory redundancies, the council is working hard to minimise the number of these as far as possible.”
Self-service machines are also due to be installed at all 16 city libraries, allowing library users to take out and return their own books. Machines are already in place in some city libraries – including Wednesfield, Blakenhall and Tettenhall – but will be in all the city’s libraries by the end of the year.
James Macfarlane, spokesman for the Save Wolverhampton Libraries campaign, said: “In reducing the opening hours, it will affect the most basic and finest community service we have.” He added the introduction of self-service machines showed a ‘total ignorance’ of what librarians do.
Previously, 34 of the 138 library jobs were full time but under the new structure, there will be 12 full time roles and the rest part time. The new opening hours will come into force on Monday.