I AM appealing to the good folk of Wiltshire to save your libraries. Time is running out. This week Councillor Dick Tonge said: “paid librarians could be replaced by volunteers”. So the council plans to keep the buildings open, but that’s it. Staff were shocked and horrified to hear this, as I am sure the public will be.

This is not a free service. Each and every one of you who pay council tax is paying for what should by statute be “a comprehensive and efficient library service” (1964 Libraries & Museums Act). Yes, local authorities nationwide are struggling under austerity, but so are ordinary people, who need the facilities libraries offer, more than ever. If this is allowed to happen, the library service will fail spectacularly.

With the best will in the world, volunteers cannot, and should not be asked to, run such a complex, valuable service. The skills of professional, paid staff who are invariably friendly, welcoming and helpful, make libraries lovely places to be and to use, whether you are reading the Wiltshire Times, printing your boarding pass, attending a Noisy Friday rhyme time or ordering the latest Zadie Smith.

Please, please, please, Moonrakers all, contact your local councillor and MP, write to the Wiltshire Times, do whatever you can to save this wonderful, accessible, diverse service from extinction.

Elle Boocock, New Road, Bradford on Avon