USERS of the mobile library in Mary Tavy have described the threatened service as 'a lifeline'.

Ten regulars showed up to the library this morning, Wednesday, on its four-weekly stop off at the bus stop in Mary Tavy.

Eileen Darke, who is in her late 80s and lives in Mary Tavy, said the service was vital for pensioners and the housebound.

She said she herself relied on it as did others who would struggle to travel into Tavistock to go to the main library.

'When you are in your late 80s and you haven't got very good health, you can come here, pick a few books, go back and you haven't got to carry them all the way back from town,' she said. 'It is such a bother when you've only got the bus to rely on. You can't always do your shopping and books all in one go. And you don't want to be in and out of town all the time.

'I think it is very important to us out here. It is a link to the outside world as much as anything, especially when the weather is bad, it is ideal. You can come and get a couple of books for a month, and you are in clover.

'I think if they close it down it is another nail in pensioners' lifestyle and I think they should buck their ideas up a bit and look after us a bit more. We've looked after them all these years — and I'll get off my soapbox now!'

Devon County Council is currently consulting on whether to axe the service across Devon, which is currently provided by the four mobile vans in different parts of the county.

The van out of Ivybridge runs a service on different routes in the Tavistock area, including Mary Tavy, Peter Tavy, Bridestowe, Lydford and Brentor, which are visited on a Wednesday every four weeks.

Also provided with a service are Bere Alston, Bere Ferrers ad Weir Quay on a Tuesday and Dousland, Yelverton and Buckland Monachorum on Thursdays, again once every four weeks.

The mobile library from Torrington, meanwhile, serves villages north of Okehampton.

A Devon County Council spokesperson said: 'We want to make sure that library users aren't disadvantaged by our proposal, which is why we have been exploring, through the consultation, developing the other services that we already provide - such as the Home Library service, which delivers books to people at home; and the Good Neighbours service, which enables neighbours and friends to pick up books and things on behalf of others.  The consultation is ongoing at the moment and no decisions will be made until we've fully considered all of the responses we receive.'