A NUMBER of stops on the Okehampton mobile library service are to be axed as part of changes to cut the cost of library services.

Eight mobile libraries currently make 522 stops around Devon, stopping for between 20 minutes to three hours, but visitor figures show that 69 stops are significantly underused, with just three or fewer people using these stops.

Under the changes, 65 of those under-used mobile library stops in the county are being removed from routes from April onwards.

Users of the remaining 454 stops will see the frequency of visits change from fortnightly to monthly. More people will have the opportunity to receive books and spoken-word items delivered to their homes instead.

On the Okehampton route, there are eleven stops that have been identified as having three or less users, and will be cut.

They are at Murchington, Ashbury Station, Folly Gate, Yeoford, Gidleigh Little Ensworthy, Dornaford Hamlet and Coleford Crossroads.

Zeal Monachorum, which was originally designated to be cut, will remain part of the service along with three other stops previously at risk of being cut.

Cllr Roger Croad, the council's cabinet member with responsibility for the library service, said: 'When we reviewed the mobile library service three years ago, we introduced a criteria to ensure stops were well used.

'A small number of stops have, over time, become significantly under-used, and the service costs significantly more per customer compared to our static libraries.

'I would like to thank all those who responded to the consultation.

'I'm pleased that with their comments, we've decided to keep four of the stops that we'd previously proposed for withdrawal. I'm also pleased that most people by far have said they'll continue to use our library services.'

The service changes will mean fewer library vehicles are required, and will help Devon County Council save £125,000 a year towards the £110 million cuts the council faces over the next four years due to government funding reductions.

Consultation about the proposals before Christmas drew 1,585 responses from mobile library users.

Only 62 of those responses referred to the 69 under-used stops proposed for withdrawal on the grounds that just three people or less regularly visit them.

Of those 62 responses, 70% of them said they will continue to use the library service in other ways, either using other stops, their nearest static library, or the Home Library Service.

The service, provided by the Royal Voluntary Service, is for people who enjoy reading or listening to audiobooks, but can not get out of the house to a library.

Volunteers choose and deliver books to those who want them, and can build up a rapport with clients on a one-on-one basis.

If you would like to find out more about the Home Library Service or would like to volunteer, please call into Okehampton Library or call 01837 52805.