A resident petitioning Hertfordshire County Council to rethink proposed cuts in the opening hours of Borehamwood library has said the 'poorest stand to lose most'.

With County Hall facing the financial strain of the comprehensive spending review, it has proposed a 30 per cent reduction in library opening times in the hope of saving £1.4 million.

It could mean the library in Elstree Way, will suffer a new full day closure on Friday, and morning closures on Tuesday and Thursday.

The proposals, which are currently out for public consultation and on display in the library until December 11, have been criticised by Louise Aldridge, 51, of Cardinal Avenue, who has gathered 200 signatures for a petition.

She said: “You can't raise literacy by taking away the service that enables it. For people who don't have a lot of money there's so much available in the library that they stand to lose.”

The mother of two suggested more affluent areas could take the brunt of the hour cuts, protecting vital services for people who need them most.

Mrs Aldridge said: “There's nothing in the report to say if it's cut on the basis of usage. There is no detail in the report to tell you why this is being done the way it is, it appears random.

“Consultation with the users would have been nice, asking people when do you come in and where would the biggest impact come.

“It seems ironic they've spent the last five years adding all these services and trying to get more users, and now they're cutting. They should have involved the users more in the proposals.”

Mrs Aldridge, a librarian at a girls school in Barnet, said the new times would not provide the consistency emphasised in county council papers, and would effect both young and old.

She said: “The changes will take a night away from the homework club, there needs to be consistency with some things.

“They talk about consistency in the hours, but that seems to be the one thing they've gone away from. There's no two days that are the same.”

Mrs Aldridge also said the morning closures would effect the elderly, who might be too tired to come in the afternoon.

When the public consultation period started at the end of October, leader of the Hertfordshire County Council, Robert Gordon (Conservative), said: “While many councils are planning library closures, we recognise how important it is for all residents to have convenient access to a library.

“We want to avoid closures but the financial realities forced us to consider significant reductions in opening hours instead.

“This means that your local library will remain open, but users will have to adjust to the reduced opening hours.”

Full details of the proposed new opening times are available to view at Borehamwood library, with a comments box for residents to leave their views.