FOR years it has kept people page turning.

Readers young and old have benefited from the arrival of the mobile library, but the development in technology may have contributed to this doorstep book lending experience becoming surplus to requirements.

The ability to access books at the touch of a button on a computer keyboard or hand-held gadget has no doubt had an impact on the lending experience many of us have had to rely on in the past.

With cuts to make to meet its budget, the axe has now fallen on a service which, for many, particularly those without transport, has provided easy access to expand their reading range.

Under Kirklees Council's plan, the mobile library service, operating in six areas including Birkenshaw, has now been withdrawn.

Coun Graham Turner, Kirklees Council's cabinet member for resources, previously said the plan was the best balance between achieving the service ambitions of everybody having access to a library, and the budget demands of saving £1.8m.

"When we started looking at what we could deliver within our reduced budget, I wanted to make sure that we preserved as much of the service as possible and to ensure that we could provide as many access points to a library service as possible, and not embark on a wholesale closure programme. I believe with the help of volunteers and hardworking committed staff we have achieved this."

Coun Turner previously explained they have five mobile libraries with a spare as cover. "These are more expensive to run than static libraries, and the analysis shows that only 0.6 per cent of the population uses the service."

While the service may have been more under-used in recent years, for those who did use the mobile library, it was a beneficial service - and not solely for the exchange of books.

According to Councillor Robert Light, Conservative Group Leader on Kirklees Council and ward councillor for Birstall and Birkenshaw, it could be the only social interaction those who regularly used it had in a day.

He says: "It is one less thing on a very minimal list of what we get from Kirklees. The mobile library was one thing they did for the community."

Since the introduction of mobile libraries nationally during the 1940s, the service became a popular way of serving local communities, particularly when transportation wasn't as easily accessible for lenders to visit the local library as it is today.

Over the years the service became particularly beneficial to those who would otherwise struggle to visit their local library. For example, the elderly or those with health issues affecting their mobility.

Of course, as with any service, it evolved over the years. Following the creation of Kirklees Council in 1974, the authority inherited mobile library services from Spenborough Urban District Council, Batley Borough Council, Huddersfield Urban District Council and West Riding County Council which formed the new mobile and Home Service covering all areas of Kirklees.

A Kirklees Council spokesman explained Batley's mobile library was based at Batley Library, Spenborough's two mobile libraries were based at Cleckheaton library and Huddersfield was served by a trailer service with a separate cab.

The trailers were collected, taken to their location with a member of library staff and then taken on to the next location.

One mobile library inherited from the former West Riding delivered around the villages and hamlets of the Holme and Colne Valleys.

Before the service officially ceased on Friday February 26, there were six mobile libraries serving the Kirklees area. All were located at Red Doles in Huddersfield.

For mobile library users such as Cynthia Springthorpe, the service will be sadly missed. Cynthia has had a long association with the mobile library which visited her home village of East Bierley every week.

Cynthia began borrowing books at the age of eight. The 83-year-old recalls the library was then based in the village memorial hall before it became part of the church.

When the mobile library service arrived many years ago the avid reader continued her book borrowing. "I've used it since I was eight and now I am 83," says Cynthia proudly.

She says she is 'disappointed' that the mobile service has now stopped.

But Kirklees isn't the only authority to stop its mobile library services. Bradford's ceased as part of the budget cuts in 2014.

However, all is not lost. A Kirklees Council spokesman explains the council has since expanded its existing Home Library Service to qualifying customers who are unable to visit a library due to disability, infirmity or caring responsibilities.

For more information about the Home Library Service call 01484 226363.