CALNE Library will become the first in Wiltshire to trial a system which will allow it to operate with no staff on duty.

The library is due to undergo refurbishment work later this year, which will see a swipe card system and CCTV installed, allowing it to be opened without having staff on duty. 

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: “The library isn’t going to close and staff are not going to lose their jobs, but some of the current staff’s hours will be cut.

“Following refurbishment, the library will be able to open for longer and we are hoping that it will be able to open on Wednesdays, as it currently isn’t.

“We want to transform the library into a community hub so that people can use it for a wide range of purposes.”

The refurbishment will also see rollers fitted to the library’s shelves, which will allow them to be moved with ease to create space for events and functions to be held in the building on The Strand.

But not everyone is welcoming the plans.

Members of the newly formed Calne Labour Party handed out leaflets outside the library on Saturday (Feb 13) to protest the reduction of staff hours.

Oliver Boaler, co-founder of the party, said: “Staff are essential to the library’s smooth running. They not only help library users choose books, use the computers and deal with queries, their supervision means the library always feels safe and is kept tidy.

“I worry about someone having a fall or somebody causing damage. A response to this wouldn’t be quick enough with the use of CCTV.”

Calne Library stopped taking the Western Daily Press and Gazette and Herald as a result of funding cuts, but Calne Labour has paid to have the papers put back on the shelves for the next six weeks.

On Saturday children made a huge Valentine’s Day card for members of the public to sign, which was then handed to staff at the library and is now on display there.

Wiltshire Council is one of many councils across the UK that has been forced into making cuts to local libraries, and is proud of the fact that until now it has not had to close library services, with hundreds of others being forced into doing so.

Similar CCTV-monitored library systems are currently in place in a number of libraries across the UK, including those in Peterborough and Farsley.