A century-old library is to have its opening hours slashed and staff made redundant because of budget cuts.

The opening hours of Upper Norwood Library in Westow Hill are to be halved as almost a third of its workforce faces the axe.

The 113-year-old library, which is paid for jointly by Croydon and Lambeth authorities, is losing £344,000 of funding - well over half its annual £589,000 budget - from the end of the month.

Croydon Council is making the biggest cuts, after councillors last year voted to slash its share of the funding from £189,000 to £75,000.

The cuts mean five of the library's 17 staff have had to take redundancy, while two of those remaining are contracted no regular hours. The library will now employ the equivalent of 5.53 full-time staff, down from 9.92.

It means from April 29 the library will be open 24 hours a week across three days, instead of 47 hours across five.

Robert Gibson, co-chair of Upper Norwood Library Trust (UNLT), which wants to take over the running of the library, said: "This is the direct result of the savage cut in funding by Croydon Council and it is what we all feared and expected.

"The community fought very hard to stop the reduction in funding but obviously Croydon Council decided to go ahead with it. It is a tragic state of affairs."

Councillor Pat Ryan said: "There is great sadness around Upper Norwood at the moment. We are losing chief librarians.

"It is like a member of the family passing away. It is not quite that bad, we are still alive, but it is very hard."

Upper Norwood Library is currently managed by Croydon Council but will be controlled by Lambeth Council from April 29. It will continue to be funded by both authorities.

UNLT is in negotiations with both councils about taking on the reins. But Mr Gibson admitted it would need an increase in funding to restore the library to its current level of service.

He said he was also concerned Croydon Council had "stripped the libraries reserves" to pay for redundancy payouts.

Councillor Sally Prentice, Lambeth Council's cabinet member for culture and leisure, blamed Croydon Council's funding cuts for the redundancies and reduced service, which she hoped would be a temporary arrangement.

A spokesman for Croydon Council said: "Like every other publicly-funded body, Upper Norwood Library will need to operate with less resource, however we believe that a funding package of £285,000 is a solid foundation for the library to budget with.

"This will mean the need to be more efficient with a lower staffing ratio but we are confident that with the funding available and the proposed restructure it will be possible to run the library at or close to the current opening hours and we are encouraging Lambeth to make sure this happens."