A MOBILE library service in rural areas could be scrapped under swingeing cuts planned by the North East's biggest local authority.
Durham County Council announced yesterday it was planning cuts to its mobile library service, which has seen membership fall from 7,800 in March 2008 to 3,538 in March 2011.
There are currently five mobile library vehicles, which visit 182 different communities over a two-week period, stopping at 380 halts.
Under the new strategy, it is proposed that the mobile library service will visit only communities that are at least four miles from a library building, with only one halt in each settlement the service visits.
Halts would be withdrawn if they are not used.
Council leader Simon Henig said: “The number of active borrowers now accounts for only 1.5% of the total for the library service, making the mobile service significantly more expensive per visit than library buildings.”
But Durham County Councillor John Shuttleworth, whose Weardale ward includes some of the most remote of the county’s constituencies, said: “Yet again it is the rural communities who suffer due to cut-backs.
“I know people who look forward to the visit of the mobile library as a highlight of their week and to deprive them of that small pleasure is simply inhumane.”