A GROUP of residents has started a campaign to save libraries in Bradford South - after being "devastated" by news of proposed closures.

Last month, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe warned that libraries across the district could shut if volunteers did not step forward to run them.

Labour-led Bradford Council said it wanted most of its 32 libraries to become community-managed as part of moves to save £120 million from council budgets.

Under the proposal, five libraries in Bradford South are under threat. They are Wibsey, Wyke, Queensbury, Great Horton and Holme Wood.

Carole Haxby is a regular user of Wibsey Library on North Road. She and her husband Chris are at the forefront of the campaign to save it.

Mrs Haxby, who said the campaign was in its early days, added: "Everybody is just devastated. They have not left us a single library on this side of the city."

Mrs Haxby, who is a member of the book club at the library, continued: "The library is a hub for the community. It is always full of people reading newspapers, borrowing books, and using the computers.

"We want the Council to reprieve us. We would welcome it in another building as long as it stayed. We just want them to reconsider and give us something.

"It is a meeting place, a resource centre for study and for access to computers for people with no home access. There will no longer be a book club, a smoking clinic, a storytime club and no councillors' surgery.

"It would be terrible if these libraries went. We would be creating an illiterate generation."

Under the Council proposal, all but the seven most heavily-used libraries would become community-managed over a period of three years.

Mr Haxby, who is a former teacher, said: "Libraries are absolutely needed. I am appalled at the position of Bradford in literature tables nationally.

"What sort of move is this if we want to improve things."

Councillor David Green said: "Before I deal with the detail I think that it is important to outline the threat to local services forced upon the district by government cuts. Since 2010 Bradford has faced cuts of £170 million and in the next four years we will have to find another £160 million, meaning that the spending power of the council will have halved in ten years.

"At the same time demand for services such as adult social care and child protection has increased and these are services we have to provide by law.

"As a result of these two factors we are having to look at areas of provision that we know are important to local communities but are not covered by the rules relating to our legal responsibility and unfortunately libraries are one of the services we are consulting on, not just in Wibsey but in many other areas.

"We hope that should the current proposals be accepted then we will be able to work with local people to run the library under community ownership. There are a number of examples of this throughout the district where libraries have been saved by the Council and the local community work together to keep this service open.

"As local councillors we are being forced by government policy to make totally unacceptable choices but I can assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that the service remains, although this may be in a different format than the one you are used to."

Mr Haxby added: "I understand the reasons behind Councillor Green's words. But it seems to be a very short-sighted move."

Campaigners are set to meet councillors at a councillors' surgery at the library tomorrow. It starts at 11am.