VOLUNTEERS could end up running libraries as Ealing Council considers options for closing down sites across the borough.

The council this week began a consultation canvassing residents views for how libraries should be run and which facilities may have to close.

Ealing is having to make big savings as central Government has cut its grant, meaning it must save £65 million over the next three years. And it is hoped that community groups will answer the call to help run book-lending services in Ealing.

Council leader Julian Bell said: “What we want to do is see if we can get community groups to help out. Obviously we don't want to close anywhere down but if we can find a way to make savings without shutting down a library then we will do that. We recognise that people have got their own lives to lead but this is a good opportunity for people to give something back to the community.”

Mr Bell said one of biggest deciding factors will be people's proximity to their nearest library: “Currently there are 13 sites in Ealing, and residents are never more than a mile from their nearest library. There is some overlap in terms of proximity, such as Hanwell and West Ealing, which are very close to each other.”

A final decision on which libraries to close will go before cabinet in June. Until then, the consultation questionnaire has identified five sites which could close.

They are; Hanwell Library, Northfield Library, Northolt Leisure Centre Library, the mobile library service and Perivale Library.

The deadline for responses is May 3. Consultations are being sent in the post but you can also complete them online at www.ealing.gov.uk/consultations .

Anyone without access to a PC can fill in the questionnaire at any of the boroughs libraries or request a hard copy.