PLANS to switch librarians from Colne to Nelson have been slammed as 'bonkers'.

Bosses at Lancashire County Council are proposing transferring staff from Nelson Library to Colne Library and vice versa following a change to the opening hours of libraries across the county.

It is believed the staff at both libraries were informed about the proposed changes last week and could be forced to move despite their reluctance because of their friendships they have built with users.

The move comes after new county-wide standardisation of opening hours was introduced by the Conservative administration at County Hall in Preston where libraries have been allocated to one of four different bands depending on local need.

Colne has been designated as a Band A library - which is considered to be a main library - and is open for 50 hours a week, eight hours more than Nelson Library, which has been classed as Band B.

A spokesman for the county council said: "To be fair to all staff, those that previously worked in Nelson Library have been asked to transfer to Colne. Staff that worked in Colne have been asked to move to Nelson.

"However, following consultation with the staff further options have put forward to them to consider and a final decision has not yet been made. Staff have been consulted on these changes, which will only be made with their agreement."

Councillors have written to library bosses asking for an 'urgent' rethink of the plan.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Tony Greaves said residents and library workers were 'up in arms' about the proposed swap.

He said: "This seems like brain-dead bureaucratic lunacy of the most extreme kind, based on nothing more than opening hours.”

Pendle Council leader Mohammed Iqbal said: "Lancashire County Council have announced this out of the blue and I think it's completely bonkers. The staff at Nelson and Colne are long established and well respected librarians and help to go the extra mile. The county council need a rethink because moving them for mere convenience does not make sense."

Colne Conservative county councillor Joe Cooney said: "I raised the issue with (libraries boss) Peter Buckley and said to him I do not think they should do this because the staff don't want to move but it's a decision for members and officers to make."

County Cllr Peter Buckley, who is the cabinet member for community and cultural services, was contacted for comment but was unavailable.