Councillors have questioned plans to scrap a school library service, halve the amount of mobile library vans, and move town libraries into shared buildings as Ceredigion County Council continues to try and find savings in its budget.

Members of the Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard that the council wants to slash the libraries budget by £187,000 in a bid to balance the books.

Members heard that removing the library service to schools will save £47,000, meaning teachers and staff will have to collect books themselves.

Halving the number of mobile library vans from four to two will save £70,000.

Members heard that the current four vans “are not fully utilised”, and the service “can maintain a similar level of service with a reduction of two vans.”

Closing stand-alone libraries in Ceredigion towns and moving them into other council-owned buildings will save around £70,000, the draft budget estimates.

“Co-location of library services with other council services will reduce costs through removing duplication of roles, improving energy efficiencies, and making full use of existing space,” the draft report outlines.

“Income can potentially be made in the future from repurposing buildings and reducing duplication in staff roles.”

A review of opening hours of libraries within the shared buildings will also be undertaken, with some likely to reduce, members heard.

Lampeter councillor Ann Bowen Morgan told members: “There is a purpose built library in Lampeter, it is modern and a great use of the building.

“I wouldn’t like to see the library moved from there.

“I understand the idea is to move it to the well-being centre and I don’t think it’s a good idea.

“If the library moved we’d have another empty building in the town.

“I appeal not to move it out of the town centre.”

Cabinet member Catrin MS Davies said that moving libraries into council buildings was an “opportunity” and that any empty buildings that used to contain the libraries will not be empty.

“It’s not ideal, but there are good things that can come out of this situation,” she said.

Cllr Endaf Edwards said: “Is getting rid of the schools services putting pressure on teachers and will it have an effect on people’s education?

“Going to collect books will take teachers away from class.”

Chief Executive Cllr Eifion Evans told members: “The situation has changed, with digital and computers taking over.

“The need for books on certain themes is disappearing from schools and curriculum.

“It won’t have a negative effect on teaching or learning in schools.”

Cllr Elaine Evans questioned the “impact on older residents in rural areas”, of cutting the number of mobile vans.

Cllr MS Davies said that the number of routes and homes visited will remain the same despite the reduction in the number of vans.