LIBRARY hours are being slashed in dozens of towns and villages around Wiltshire.

Residents face seeing opening hours pared down to as little as three per week in some smaller libraries.

Wiltshire Council’s budget squeeze is being blamed for the cutbacks, which are set to hit Purton, Cricklade and Lyneham.

There are no planned closures of any of Wiltshire’s libraries but the move to slash hours has made some residents feel ‘sick’.

Eve Booy, 68, of Dogridge, Purton, is a regular user of the village’s library in High Street – and even said it was one of the reasons she moved there in the first place.

“I’m very disappointed,” she said. “It’s a very big asset in the village. When we moved here we looked around various villages, and when we heard Purton had a library it was a big plus.

“Now we’ll have to really time visits to the library, because it is at the other end of the village.

“Every time you go in there are always people using the computers. It’s very much encouraging the children to go in.

“We all know the council doesn’t have any money but libraries are one of the things I wouldn’t want cut.”

Husband Paul, 70, said: “I feel pretty sick to be honest.

“I’m a bit cross about it because although I’m retired and have got a car it’s hard luck for people who haven’t. They’d have to go over to Wootton Bassett.

“I’ve got the time, but if you’re doing a full time job it’s extra hassle and we don’t want to put people off reading, do we?”

Some libraries like Purton have yet to have their new hours agreed but as part of the changes, the council has committed itself only to a minimum of three hours a week. It said in a statement: “Wiltshire Council is facing a budget reduction of 28.4 per cent over the coming years. To help the council meet this target, the library service needs to reduce its budget by a similar amount.

“Wiltshire Council is fully committed to its libraries and understands how important they are to communities. These plans would allow the council to retain its current network of libraries and mobile library stops.”

Under the heading “How will the opening hours for my library be effected?” (sic), the council advises that leaflets with the full list of time changes are available in the libraries themselves.

The new hours are set to begin in September. Anyone interested in volunteering for the library service should call 01225 713 076.