TWO senior councillors faced an hour-long grilling from people angry at a threat to their much-loved local library.

Council leader Councillor David Green and executive member Councillor Ralph Berry, both Labour councillors for Wibsey, were met with a 60-strong crowd when they turned up at Wibsey library for their regular advice surgery on Saturday.

Wibsey is one of a host of libraries that could be closed if volunteers don't come forward to run them, under cost-cutting proposals put forward by Bradford Council's Labour administration.

Cllr Green told the crowd that Government cuts to Council funding were so severe, Bradford Council's budget was expected to halve in the 10 years between 2010 and 2020.

He said: "We are trying to make sure there is a core library service with other ways of potentially running the libraries elsewhere."

He said some other libraries in the district were already volunteer-run, and in Wrose this had even seen opening hours increase.

Wibsey resident Alison Hill said: "I think we are all aware of the difficulties this council faces. I don't think any of us here are not aware.

"However, these are some of the concerns - that in Bradford South there will be no council library.

"That really concerns us. Are you going to have a north-south divide?"

She said Wibsey library played a vital role within the community, whether that be combating isolation and loneliness through its regular groups or helping schoolchildren.

She added: "This is not a traditional library. It is the heart of the community."

Her comments were met with applause from the crowd.

Jennifer Shaw, of Clayton Heights, asked how much it would add to Council Tax bills to keep the libraries as they were.

Cllr Green said Council Tax was already set to rise by 1.6 per cent, but people could suggest a slightly larger rise to fund library services, as part of a public consultation now under way.

Some people said Wibsey would struggle to find volunteers to man the library, while others asked the council leader why the authority was building new swimming pools.

But Cllr Green said the new pools would save money on running costs in the long-run.

And he said one practical way people could help to protect local services was by recycling more of their household waste, saying it currently cost the council a lot of money to send rubbish to landfill unnecessarily.

He said: "It isn't just about environmental issues. It's about cold hard Bradford cash. It's about cold, hard Bradford services.

"It's about doing your bit to save the environment, but more importantly you will be doing your bit to save some of the services you hold dear."

The current budget proposals would see all but seven of the district's 32 libraries become community-managed as part of moves to save £53 million from council budgets.

The libraries which would retain paid staff would be Bradford city centre, Shipley, Keighley, Eccleshill, Bingley, Manningham and Ilkley.