The trial of a new high-tech, self-service system at Bramhall Library has sparked fears of cuts and closures across Stockport.
The Scandinavian-inspired system is intended to allow libraries to extend opening hours, but Stockport’s Labour Group fear it may spell the end for other facilities in the area as part of streamlining services in a £200,000 council savings effort.
The area’s Lib Dem Executive member Shan Alexander could not give guarantees that the technology would not be used to cut staff.
In 2013, 91 hours were cut at 13 of the borough 15 libraries, saving £160,000. Council bosses insisted hours were only cut when facilities had the fewest visitors.
Meanwhile, town hall chiefs say that despite a million visits to facilities last year, the number of library users continues to fall – with more services accessed digitally and that this type of self-service technology to extend opening hours will protect services.