A fresh round of cuts will “devastate” a library service, according to opposition councillors.

Proposed cuts to West Sussex’s library service include axing delivery of books to care homes and sheltered housing across the county.

West Sussex County Council has been accused of damaging the service and targeting the most vulnerable.

But the Conservative administration has insisted the savings are necessary to keep the county’s 36 libraries open.

The authority is planning to shave £654,000 from its libraries budget in the next two years with 17 jobs being lost.

Cuts include proposals to buy 20,000 fewer books next year and fines and rental charges could be increased.

Liberal Democrat councillor Bob Smytherman said: “Cutting the mobile service to residential care homes is an appalling idea.

“We should be extending the mobile service, not cutting it.”

But the council’s deputy leader Lionel Barnard, who is responsible for libraries, said: “The most important thing for us is that as many libraries as possible stay open and under these plans we think we can keep all of them open."

Coun Barnard said the authority is looking into volunteers delivering books instead.

The community services select committee will discuss the plans on Wednesday, November 9 before Coun Barnard makes his decision.

There will then be a public consultation.

For more on this story see today's Argus.

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