A PETITION has been launched in a bid to force North Ayrshire Council into a rethink over planned cuts to their library services in the Three Towns.

The appeal is being made by Three Towns locals Catherine-Anne Tierney and Linda Cameron, who form part of a group of around ten mothers who use the library resources on a daily and weekly basis.

Alongside other local women, who have been supporting their cause, they plan to gather enough signatures to force the council to take notice of the affect any cuts may have.

Similar action has been seen following planned cuts to the libraries within North Ayrshire's secondary schools - with pupil's launching a petition which contributes to those controversial cuts being put on hold.

READ MORE: North Ayrshire pupils oppose council's school library cuts

At the start of last month, we reported calls to "fight for our local libraries and librarians" as the extent of a North Ayrshire Council 're-design' of the service was revealed.

A Herald source has claimed that proposals rubber-stamped at the authority's budget meeting in February will see the vital service slashed.

They said: "North Ayrshire Council have recently announced to library employees that they're cutting library hours and jobs.

"Library employees all have to reapply for their jobs, and there will not be enough jobs to go round, so many redundancies are on the cards.

"Librarians are so scared for their jobs. All staff have been strictly warned not to tell the public until after the redundancies, when it's too late to stop anything."

It is understood that some local libraries will see the cuts in their hours run deeper than others.

A Herald source source claimed that the current plan is to shut the library in Fairlie altogether and to significantly cut back on both staff numbers and opening hours at the facility in West Kilbride.

It's also understood that some libraries that are currently open for four full days each week, and every Saturday morning, will have their hours reduced to just two full days along with every second Saturday morning.

READ MORE: 'Fight for your library' plea as scale of North Ayrshire re-design revealed

Together with reduction in staffing resources, it is expected that the service could face extreme challenges.

The petition launched by the Three Towns woman is aimed at highlighting just how detrimental these cuts could be for locals - highlighting Saltcoats and Ardrossan libraries in particular.

They said: "Our libraries are more than just buildings filled with books; they are vital community hubs where learning and imagination flourish.

"For our children, they serve as safe havens to explore their curiosity, develop their literacy skills and grow their confidence.

"The amazing staff at Ardrossan and Saltcoats libraries—Anne, Jean, Richard, and Yvette—provide invaluable support and resources to everyone in the community.

"With the proposed cuts opening hours will now be cut by 50 per cent and the staffing will be dropped from four amazing people to two who will be spread across both libraries."

Petition available to sign here.

They continued: "As well as organised groups the library is also a community safe space where you can visit with no obligation to spend a penny. It is a place to meet, chat, explore and learn.

"Reducing hours and making cuts would be a devastating blow to these essential services and result in two dedicated staff members losing their jobs.

"Let's ensure that our libraries remain open and fully operational for future generations. Sign this petition to protect our community's lifeline!"

Similar concerns were previously put to North Ayrshire Council, who said engagement is taking place with relevant parties to inform their decisions.

It is understood that factors such as current hours, ease of access to alternative resources and in particular staff rotas, where one member of staff covers two libraries, have driven the decisions to reduce hours in some places more than others.

The authority says there will be no enforced redundancies.

A spokesperson said: “We are currently engaging with the affected staff and also listening to a range of stakeholders.

"These discussions will inform our final decision and how we propose to make the necessary changes and redesign of our library service. We will provide full details when this process is complete.

“As per council policy, there are no proposed redundancies. North Ayrshire Council has a policy of no compulsory redundancies.

"Staff will have several options open to them, including moving into one of the new posts, redeployment or voluntary early release.

"We will be supporting employees throughout."

The council says library buildings will remain available for use by community groups, even outside the new opening hours.

The spokesperson continued: “Whilst the times that our libraries will be open and staffed will be reduced we will continue to work with key stakeholders, partners and community groups to make use of the asset whilst we are not open to the public.

"This already happens across the library service, and ensures that partners and the local community can use the asset to best meet local needs and are not tied by staff availability to open up.“