PLANS to soften controversial cuts to the county's library service have been slammed as "pathetic" by a Bromsgrove councillor.

The Advertiser reported earlier this week that the changes to libraries may be softened after the county council announced it would be reducing the amount it plans to cut over the next three years.

Worcestershire County Council originally planned to slash £1 million from the county's library budget over the next three years but has announced it would now be reducing the cut to £800,000.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of the county council, said no budget was ever cast in stone and the council realised the budget cut was "too high" after speaking with the public.

However, Bromsgrove councillor Peter McDonald, who has vowed to fight to make sure Rubery Library stays open, said: "Finding £200,000 is pathetic, it needs to be a lot more.

"It should not be hard for the council to find £1m to keep these vital libraries open."

Speaking previously he he branded a consultation into the cuts as a sham and said the council made it clear from the onset it was their intention to rip the heart out of the community.

"They totally ignored the fact made time and again by residents that Rubery library is not just shelves with books on, but so much more, from children's story times to helping elderly and vulnerable people connect with the world around them," he said.

"Shutting our libraries fails our children and elderly; it also weakens communities when we should be doing everything to strengthen them. We in Rubery value and cherish our library and will not lay back and be rolled over."

Cllr Geraghty said the consultation was "not about closing libraries" and was instead about preparing the service for the future.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for communities, has toured the county's 23 libraries in recent months to speak to residents about what they want from their library.

The library consultation ends soon with the results forming a complete reshape of the county's library service.

As part of the changes, many of the county's 'bigger' libraries such as the Bromsgrove Library in Parkside and Redditch Library are unlikely to be affected.

But many of the other libraries such as Rubery or Catshill Community Library could all be handed over to district councils and other businesses, made self-service or have its opening hours cut.

The council has not ruled out complete closures but says it would only close libraries as a last resort and hopes to avoid closure by handing over the libraries to district councils and community groups as well as sharing buildings with other public bodies and businesses.

The authority is also open to the idea of making libraries staff-less which means finding and checking out books would become completely self-service.