A CAMPAIGN group has accused Gloucestershire County Council of “fobbing off” communities which have lost their libraries.

GCC recently launched its new mobile library service serving 56 communities across the county. However, Johanna Anderson of the pressure group Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries said she did not believe residents had been given a fair say on how this is run and that they had not been told the previous service was stopping in November last year.

“We have grave concerns about the new service and about the failure of GCC to properly consult service users and inform them of the changes before they withdrew the old service,” she said.

She added GCC had confirmed it had only consulted with “registered users” despite claiming to have undertaken “extensive consultation” on the changes to the service.

Calling the approach “patchy and amateurish”, the group said in a statement: ”There is no excuse for this as the council could have obtained all the details they needed about which service users to consult quite easily from their own library system in a timely manner”.

The group has also said it is concerned the service only makes brief stops in smaller communities while leaving some out altogether saying: “This misguided decision leaves those very users most in need of mobile services with no library access at all”.

In 2011 the council announced libraries across the county would close to save costs, with some – such as Lechlade – handed over to the community.

GCC leader Cllr Mark Hawthorne (Con, Moreland) disputed the groups claims, saying the new arrangement had been introduced following “extensive engagement” with current users from last September.

“In a few cases where customers would be unable to use the nearest new mobile stop or static library, arrangements have been made to provide them with suitable alternatives,” he said.