Six libraries may be closed as the council plans cost cuts.

Up to 26 members of staff face losing their jobs as the council looks to save up to £700,000 by closing Sanderstead, Norbury, Shirley, Bradmore Green, Broad Green and South Norwood libraries.

Any, or all, of the libraries could be shut as early as the beginning of next year and plans to go before cabinet next week, include moving New Addington library.

According to the council, each library costs an average of £100,000 a year to run – £2 for each person who walks in the door.

Malcolm Wicks, MP for Croydon North, said: "Public libraries are one of the key things that make a civilised society.

"I am astounded anyone can contemplate closures on this scale. We need a major community campaign to get Croydon Council to think again."

Opposition group leader Tony Newman feared once libraries were closed, they would never be brought back.

Councillor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for culture, said: "I am sad to be in a position where we have to look at these options.

"Many people see their libraries as vital to the community, and I want to ensure if we close any of them, we do so only after we have looked closely at the impact this might have on the lives of residents.

"I hope any such cuts are balanced by investment in new and improved stock and training in any remaining branches."

If the proposals are passed by the cabinet, the council will hold a public consultation.

According to the council, the branches earmarked for closure were those that had the highest maintenance costs, were in the poorest condition and were close to another branch.

Furious teenagers, youth workers and union members gathered outside the town hall last night ahead of the council meeting, to protest against council cuts.

Timebridge Youth Club in New Addington protested against cuts to the youth service, which would mean the closure of youth clubs, which were set to be replaced with hubs, each receiving £20,000 for projects.

The council also debated cuts to the arts service, but is still consulting on the full extent of the cuts.