An 84-year-old housebound Silsden woman has voiced her fears about the planned axing of a library lifeline.

A service that delivers books to Ailene Wade’s home and to several hundred others across the district faces closure as part of Bradford Council cuts.

Miss Wade, of Tillotson Street, said the loss of the facility would be a “massive blow”.

“They come every three weeks in a little van and bring some wonderful books – they know exactly what I like – but it’s about much more than just the books,” she added.

“The staff are lovely, friendly people, who go out of their way to please you, and it is a lifeline for me.

“I’m not able to get out now, and this service gives you contact with the outside world. Myself and a lot of other housebound people depend on it, and if it finished, it would be a huge loss.”

Miss Wade has written to the council opposing the proposed scrapping of the provision, which is part of the mobile library service.

Tory councillor Andrew Mallinson, who chairs the regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee and whose Craven ward includes Silsden, shares her concerns.

And he hopes an alternative way of providing the service may be found. “It’s a vital link for people – that 20-minute-or-so visit may be the only social interaction they have,” he said.

“My fear is it’s just seen as one line of expense, but you have to look at the whole social impact and its effect on vulnerable people.

“One of our recommendations is to look at other ways the service could be provided.”

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe – the Labour-ruled council’s portfolio holder for culture, employment and skills – said she had received letters and phone calls from elderly people stressing how valuable the service is to them, and she vowed their views would be listened to. But she said difficult spending decisions had to be made.

“We don’t want to stop the home delivery service, but the savagery of government cuts imposed disproportionately on Bradford and Keighley forces us into this position,” Coun Hinchcliffe added.

“Central government is cutting Bradford Council's budget by £115 million during the next three years, on top of the £100 million already cut to date, and local people in Bradford and in towns and villages across the district are having to suffer as a result.

“We are having to propose difficult measures like this so we can protect other services to vulnerable people with very high levels of need or at high risk of injury or harm.”