COMMUNITY campaigners fighting against the closure of Bracknell's libraries are lobbying the council against possible job cuts.

Following months of public consultation, councillors have decided to keep open all of the borough's nine libraries, but introduce plans for self-service technology.

The Defend Our Community Services (DOCS) group had protested against emerging cuts in Bracknell's forest library service since they were first mooted around nine months ago, with a petition gathering more than 1,000 signatures.

And though proposals to attempt to keep libraries up and running were approved by councillors last month - in some case extending opening hours - DOCS has warned of long-term staff losing their jobs.

A letter from chairman Terry Pearce, reads: "The public consultation expressed opposition to the introduction of automated equipment in our libraries as this is both impersonal and will inevitably lead to job losses. Can the council assure us that there will be no job losses as a result of automation?

"We understand the council plan to introduce volunteers into our libraries and this raises a number of issues. Firstly, again the threat to the jobs of our excellent library staff is worrying. Secondly, at a time when the council claims it needs to make savings there will inevitably be a cost for training volunteers. And last whilst volunteers can play an important role in our community they are not the same as professionally trained librarians and staff.

"We think the people of Bracknell deserve to see their libraries protected and the staff treated decently."

Vincent Paliczka, director of environment, culture and communities at Bracknell Forest Council, said: "As agreed by the council’s executive recently, it is our preference to keep all our libraries open and we are attempting to do this through installing new technology, securing efficiencies and recruiting volunteers. We are still reviewing the best way to implement these changes and reduce costs, while continuing to provide an effective service. We hope to know more on this in the coming weeks."