HARROW Council says it “cares passionately” about libraries after axing more than 30 posts.

The equivalent of 34 full time posts will go at branches across the borough as the authority introduces supermarket style self-service machines.

The council says it is making the cuts for the sake of customers so that it does not have to close libraries.

Councillor Rekha Shah responsible for community and cultural at the council, said: “We care passionately about libraries in Harrow and that is why we are fighting to keep them open by introducing self-service technology.

“Libraries are so much more than just a place to borrow books. They are a key part of any strong and vibrant community, offering internet access, a place for meetings and exhibitions, and other services like CDs and DVDs.

“We want to protect them but government cuts mean that we have to be realistic, with less money in the pot to provide the services our residents need.”

Councillor Susan Hall, leader of the Tory opposition, said staff losses are “sadly becoming a reality” due to the need to make substantial savings.

She said: “My sympathy is obviously with the members of our dedicated and hard-working library staff who will lose their jobs as a result of this decision.

“After months of waiting for this policy to be formally adopted by the Labour administration, the staff will now at least have a degree of closure and can hopefully move on.”