“Massive cuts" are being planned to library services in Westminster, the opposition Labour group has said.
The group is “deeply concerned and angered” by proposals put forward by the Conservative administration to cut £750,000 per year from the Westminster Libraries budget, saying it will result in the loss of 17.5 full time staff.
The local authority said there will be no library closures or reduction in opening hours despite “ongoing financial challenges”.
Labour says qualified librarians “whose expertise and passion for reading help make Westminster’s libraries a hugely valued part of our community” will lose jobs, and wants the council to look again at how to support the service.
Labour leader in Westminster, Adam Hug, said: “Despite Theresa May’s recent, clearly empty, rhetoric, Westminster’s Conservative Council is carrying on with deep cuts to vital services.
“Qualified librarians help make reading come alive for children and adults alike, making our libraries the beating heart of many of our communities.
“In Westminster we’ve seen this story before many times, most notably in our children’s centres where skilled staff were steadily removed through ‘salami-slicing’ cuts and now they provide only a fraction of the vital services that they used to.
“Labour will fight to stop our libraries becoming empty shells and instead remain as a vital resource for our community.”
The Tory’s Cllr David Harvey, cabinet member for sports and leisure, said Westminster libraries would continue carry on providing a quality service.
He said: “We will continue to offer one of London’s best library services and no one is far from one of our 12 libraries.
"Unlike many other councils, we do not plan to close any libraries or reduce our opening hours.
“We will continue to have a strong workforce offering an outstanding and professional library service.
"We know libraries provide an essential service and bring communities together.
“Given the ongoing financial challenges we face, we are constantly looking for new ways to modernise the library service and ensure that we continue to deliver value for money.”
He said a consultation with library staff is underway and added: “Within the changes under discussion, we will continue to employ an excellent staff team with the right skills, knowledge and experience to deliver a high quality service.”