Customers of Penryn Library are upset by plans from Cornwall Council to reduce the service’s opening hours.

Residents of Penryn, including library customers and community groups who use the library, are angered by what they see as needless change, which has gone ahead without any public consultation.

While recognising that financial constraints may necessitate cuts in hours, they the council could have made a better choice of which days to change, and should have consulted with the public.

Henry Purbrick, who runs a reading group at the library on Fridays, said: “The library is used by many people, not just those lending books. Some go in to read the papers and notices, use the computers as not everyone can afford their own, for the reading groups and sometimes just for the company.”

Mr Purbrick said: “There are many reasons why Falmouth and Penryn libraries should keep their traditional opening days, such as market days in both towns and to retain continuity. Some people sceptical of the decision makers might think they are considering changing the opening days so as to |reduce visitor numbers so as to justify closing the libraries altogether at some future date. This really then does become a case of 'use it or lose it.’”

Judith Price, who runs another reading group, and whose knitting group also uses the library, said: “Libraries are no longer just about book lending but have also become places of learning and communication, both of which are important in an area where the population is growing.”

She said the library provided many important local services, including providing public information, aiding people with job applications who had been sent by the Job Centre, and on its current closed days hosting link into learning adult education sessions.

She added: “Surely there should be some consultation with the people who actually use the library regularly so as to minimise disruption.”

Caroline Atkins, senior library and information assistant at Penryn, said she was unable to comment on the proposed changes.

The council had originally intended to change the opening hours completely, closing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in favour of Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Adam Paynter, Cornwall Council cabinet member for shared services, said: “We listened to Penryn staff and councillors and changed the closed days around but do have Friday as a closed day.”