Renfrewshire Council plans to shift two libraries from their traditional locations, one of which has been going for 150 years, into existing community halls to cut costs.
And on top of that the council is considering selling off the old library buildings.
The proposals form part of a bid to save the cash-strapped council £75million over the next three years. The council says the cuts are needed to safeguard vital services and jobs.
The plan is to shift Bridge of Weir Library into the village’s Cargill Hall and relocate Lochwinnoch Library into the village’s McKillop Institute.
Library users fear that will mean they will get a poorer service with Bridge of Weir Library effectively halved in size.
And Chris Gould, the chairman of Lochwinnoch Community Council, which recently organised a protest about the cuts, says Renfrewshire Council has failed to consult residents properly on the plan.
Mr Gould said: “We feel it has already made up its mind. Its argument is that it has consulted and it has the support of people. But it’s very much a case of the council saying ‘This is what we’re going to do, here are some drawings of what it’s going to look like.’
“We’ve asked questions like, ‘How many books will the new library have?’ and we’re told ‘We don’t know, we’ll decide once we’re finished consulting you.’ The council is being rather patronising.”
Mr Gould argues that the council has used its survey, Difficult Choices for Difficult Times – carried out last summer – to justify the library shake-up, but he says that survey did not specifically name which facilities would be affected.
He added: “That survey asked things like ‘Would you be in favour of having several council services in the same building?’
“There are situations where of course that would make sense. But if they’d asked, would you support the library, the sports centre, and something else all in the same building? They’d have got a different response.”
Opposition Labour councillors say SNP-led Renfrewshire Council has “got it wrong.”
Lochwinnoch’s Labour Councillor Neil Bibby said: “Lochwinnoch Library has over 20,000 visits each year. Moving the library building will save only around £15,000 a year.
“This is the same council that recently wrote a cheque for £15,000 to a former X Factor contestant to switch on Christmas Lights.
“It is also incredible that it is spending £80,000 to facilitate the move – so there will be no revenue saving for over five years.”
Bridge of Weir Labour Councillor Mike Holmes said: “Bridge of Weir Library is very well used and sits in the middle of the village. The Cargill Hall regularly floods, not ideal for a library and they have not factored in any costs to make the building fit for purpose.”
Renfrewshire Council leader Derek Mackay said: “The real choice facing all of us in public service is about what services we can afford to keep. No change isn’t an option.
“Surely it’s better to relocate libraries to community halls in order that those services can be maintained.”
The council denies that there are serious flooding problems at the Cargill Hall, but says there have been leaks in the roof which are being addressed.