LIBRARY services in Wiltshire could be saved after more than 270 volunteers signed up to help keep them open.

Wiltshire Council says it wants to retain all 31 of its libraries and its mobile service but would be forced to rely on community volunteers because of the need to cut costs.

Particularly at risk were the county’s 10 smallest libraries including Durrington, Ludgershall, Netheravon and Tisbury.

Plans to cut services in these villages sparked anger and in Tisbury 150 people held a protest march against plans to slash the weekly opening hours from 13 to five, with 1,100 people also signing a petition.

In Mere people have accused the council of lack of consultation about cutbacks to the service and in Ludgershall council staff will only be at the library for five hours a week from September.

In a bid to save services the council teamed up with Volunteer Centre Wiltshire which will give people the opportunity to help out with running the libraries.

This should enable them to keep smaller libraries open and extend opening hours in others.

Cabinet member for adult care, communities and libraries John Thomson said: “I am delighted so many people have already come forward and hope that more volunteers will join us.

“This is a real opportunity for local people to shape the future of libraries and build on the excellent service they already provide.

“I want to reassure volunteers that we will work with them and they will be supported by our staff every step of the way.”

To find out more or to volunteer, contact Rebecca Bolton on 01225 713706 or the Volunteer Centre on 0845 5216224.