Out of the 139 current full and part-time jobs across Wolverhampton's libraries, 49 will vanish, although 23 new jobs will be created, meaning 26 will definitely go.
However, as 30 positions across the service are currently vacant, the council hopes that compulsory redundancies will not have to be made. Staff were this week informed of the news and a three-month consultation period is now under way to determine exactly which jobs will go. The move was labelled as "an appalling state of affairs" by a campaigner who has opposed cuts of library services during the last year.
As part of the restructure, the city's libraries will be split into three areas – the same as the current parliamentary constituencies of Wolverhampton South West, Wolverhampton North East and Wolverhampton South East. Three community services librarians will manage the libraries in those areas – replacing existing branch librarians whose jobs will no longer exist.
Tasks currently carried out at individual libraries – such as buying in books – will be done by a new separate unit.
More self-service machines will also be introduced and council service City Direct will now take library phone calls.
It is also proposed that departments within Central Library will be merged.
Each branch will continue to be staffed by senior library staff who will be able to spend the majority of their time offering front-line services to the public.
Maria Bradburn, who led a successful campaign to save Penn Library along with Anita Zammit, said: "I think it's an appalling state of affairs. They're all going to have to scramble for their jobs now and it's such a shame what's happened."