FURTHER cuts in library services are on the cards for the Hampshire public as the county council seeks to save £450,000.

Hampshire County Council chiefs have revealed plans to close smaller libraries for one day per week while using 11 “key libraries” as hubs that will stay open.

The public are now being consulted about the best way to restructure the library service.

The executive member for culture and recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman, who represents Calleva and Kingsclere division, said: “We know how highly our library service is valued, but making no changes is not an option.

“We have to make the service sustainable, so clear business sense has to prevail to give everyone reasonable access at least cost, especially when you consider we have one instance where the figures show every visit to one of our libraries costs the taxpayer £15 a time.”

The proposals that the public are being consulted on identify 11 key libraries across the region, including Basingstoke Discovery Centre.

The council hope that each “key library” will be open about 50 hours a week, over six days and are proposing that other libraries in the area close at least one day a week to make the service affordable.

Volunteers are being invited to work alongside staff to increase opening hours or even to take over the running of the smaller, under-threat libraries.

Cllr Chapman said: “These changes aim to address the wider financial pressures that every service is facing.”

Members of the public are being encouraged to visit their own local library, or visit hants. gov.uk/library to have their say.