Library provision in Croydon is set to be slashed so the cash-strapped council can save £500,000 a year.

The authority is expected to cut opening hours by 21 per cent at 12 of the borough’s 13 libraries, after two consultations on the matter.

It will see all libraries, except Central Library, open for two fewer days a week and library staff cut by a quarter.

After the first consultation the council ruled out a suggestion of closing five of the borough’s libraries, as it would not save enough money.

In the latest consultation, which closed on June  24, included two other options – to outsource all libraries or reduce hours to eight libraries and make the other five community run.

Elizabeth Ash from campaign group Save Croydon Libraries said: “I think it is awful, I think all the options were awful. I don’t think it’s needed, the money could have been found elsewhere.

“It will have devastating effects, it will have a massive impact on access. People who need to use libraries including children and those that aren’t online and need computer access.

“It will affect everybody, in some areas libraries are the only community space that people have.

“All throughout this council officers and councillors have praised our library staff and at the same time they are going to cut their jobs.”

A report set to be discussed on Monday (August 16) shows that more than 1,400 people responded to the latest consultation and of these people 55 per cent went with the chosen option over the other two.

If approved the changes to library services are set to come into force in 2022.