A book group fears it will have to disband after Richmond library announced a change to its closing times.

Your Local Guardian:

Good group: But they can't make it back from work in time

The Young Persons Book Group, which meets at 6.30pm on the second Wednesday of the month, was told on March 11 the library would now close at 7pm.

The group asked if Richmond Council could instead close the library 30 minutes earlier on Mondays, to maintain a 30-minute later opening time on Wednesdays.

But the council said Richmond library was the only one open past 7pm because a volunteer had agreed to stay for the extra half an hour unpaid, which is no longer feasible.

Chelsea Blacker, a member of the Young Persons Book Group, said three other book groups would also be affected.

She added: "Most members of the book group work in central London and cannot return to Richmond before 6.30pm on a week night, as employers will not permit us to leave work early to get to book group if it started at 6pm.

"If our current time slot is no longer feasible, we'll likely disband because we cannot reach Richmond prior to 6.30pm, due to commuting and most have family or athletic commitments on weekends."

The library suggested the group move to a nearby pub to meet, Ms Blacker said, but due to religious beliefs, would rather stay in a neutral and quiet space like the library.

Ms Blacker said: "Book group is a core part of our lives, and we feel very fortunate to have become friends through this service the library provides.

"Without the group, this opportunity will be taken away from other young locals looking to create ties in the local area with people who hold similar interests in literature."

Councillor Meena Bond, cabinet member for libraries, said Wednesday late night opening was changed from 8pm to 7pm three years ago and, as a temporary measure, Richmond was kept open for book groups until 7.30pm.

She added: "Unfortunately this temporary arrangement cannot now be continued and the four book clubs still using the library till 7.30pm were notified that this arrangement would need to end, and all but one have made alternative arrangements.

"The council always welcomes suggestions on how we can improve services and in our libraries we work closely with friends groups and users to gather feedback.

"However, while we are very willing to discuss what alternative arrangements might be possible, we are sorry that in this case we cannot now keep the library open later for this one book club."

Coun Bond said she would meet members to discuss their issues further.