Mobile libraries will be axed from the end of this month, it has been revealed.

March 31 has been announced as the date the service will come to an end.

Craven ward district councillor Andrew Mallinson said the initiative provides a lifeline to many people.

And he felt more should have been done to seek alternative ways of operating the service, which is being scrapped as part of Bradford Council’s budget cuts.

“For some people, the mobile library is their only link with others – it’s not just about borrowing books, it has a social aspect too,” said Coun Mallinson, who chairs the council’s regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee.

“At a meeting, we asked officers if an alternative way of delivering the service could be looked at – some communities, for example, have come together to successfully run libraries – but we heard nothing.

“There are people out there who would provide a service.”

The mobile libraries make weekly visits to communities across the district where there is no static library, including Cross Roads, Eastburn, Guard House, Harecroft, Haworth, Knowle Park, Laycock, Oakworth, Oxenhope, Riddlesden, Stanbury, Steeton and Thwaites Brow.

More than 840 people have used the service in the past year.

Among them is Thwaites Brow resident Doreen Tetley, 74, who has regularly borrowed books from the visiting vehicle for the past 15 years.

“I’m very sorry indeed it’s coming to an end – I will miss it a lot,” she said.

“I realise that compared to some council services it’s something of a luxury, but it’s sad it is finishing. The staff are lovely and extremely helpful.”

A council spokesman said the mobile service accounts for 1.9 per cent of total library active users and five per cent of the library service’s costs.

Plans to axe the home delivery service, which takes books to people in their own homes who are physically unable to get to a library, were dropped. That programme, which caters for 568 people, will now continue at a reduced level.