THE controversial proposal to close one of Greenock’s libraries as part of a string of budget cuts would have a serious impact on children’s learning, a councillor claimed today.

John Crowther, called on the public to oppose the shut-down of the South West Library to save £57,000 and cut the equivalent of 1.5 full time jobs.

He said the Barr’s Cottage library is in the ideal location to serve a wide area of Greenock with its books and computer suite.

Cllr Crowther, pictured outside the under-threat facility, said: “It’s a hub that is easily accessible by bus to people living in Cowdenknowes, Pennyfern, Fancy Farm, Bow Road and elsewhere.

“There might be an excuse if there had been a lack of investment in the library, but money has been spent upgrading it into a fabulous facility for all ages, so it would make no sense to shut it.”

He said public opinion was vital in his campaign to keep the doors open.

Cllr Crowther said: “There will be a public consultation in January on all of the budget proposals. I would appeal to all residents, community councils and, indeed, everyone with an interest in the well-being of Inverclyde, to take part in this extremely important consultation.

“Shutting this library will have an impact on the many people who us it, particularly those on low incomes or who have disabilities and would incur extra expenses to travel to other libraries.”

He added: “This is a vital service for education as well as reading for pleasure. How can we as a council explain to schoolchildren and adults that we should be looking forward to celebrating World Book Day in March while we are even considering the closure of library services?”

It is understood council bosses have said in a private report that closing the library would have ‘a manageable impact on service delivery’, although they recognise it would result in fewer Bookbug sessions for children in the south west area.

A council spokesman says nothing will be decided until they get feedback from the public.

He said: “A range of saving proposals have been developed by officers.

“No decisions have been taken on budget savings, and councillors have agreed that these be issued for public consultation.

“The consultation is planned to take place in January, after the council has confirmation of the grant settlement offer from the Scottish Government.”