Essex county council has vowed not to close any of its libraries, or to cut back its mobile library destinations. But consultation is to begin next month on proposals to reduce opening hours to 54 of its 73 libraries.
Jeremy Lucas, cabinet member for heritage, culture and the arts, said because of budget pressures the council had already taken steps to reduce the net cost of the service, including taking on delivery of Slough borough council's library service from the start of the year.
He said: "These measures are not sufficient in themselves to make all the required savings but the approach we have adopted is flexible enough to offer the opportunity of extending opening hours again wherever we can introduce further revenue-producing arrangements with other organisations," he said.
The opening hours consultation will run for six weeks from Monday 14th February, via forms available in local libraries or online at www.essex.gov.uk/libraries.