CASH strapped council chiefs today agreed plans to hand 14 libraries over to volunteers to save nearly £500,000.

While there will be nine 'county' libraries – catering for the largest areas such as High Wycombe and Marlow – the remainder will become 'community partnerships'.

The decision was agreed by Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet after a public consultation.

The move will help save £488,000 out of nearly £700,000 that has had to be slashed from the libraries budget.

BCC is cutting £56m over three years due to reductions in Government funding.

Villagers in Great Missenden have been particularly vociferous about the plans.

And leading campaigner Seb Berry, Chairman of Great Missenden Village Association, said he was disappointed with the 'ambiguity' surrounding their own library.

In particular, he said it was unclear whether 'promises' made at meetings on retaining paid staff would be kept to.

BCC said the new model was the 'best way forward' to ensure a 'sustainable future' for all 26 libraries.

It insisted the plans were 'flexible'.

Cllr Patricia Birchley, Cabinet Member for Adults and Family Wellbeing said: “We are positive that with our flexible approach the ‘county and community’ model can be moulded to the different needs of the local communities involved.

“We are passionate and committed to working with communities to enrich their local service and take this opportunity to make a positive difference to their community.”

The nine county libraries are: Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Amersham, Chesham, Beaconsfield, Princes Risborough, Buckingham, Hazlemere, and Marlow. 

The 14 community partnership libraries are Castlefield, Chalfont St Peter, Farnham Common, Flackwell Heath, Gerrards Cross, Great Missenden, Haddenham, Iver Heath, Ivinghoe, Long Crendon, Stokenchurch, Wendover, Wing, Winslow.

Computer and IT services will still be provided by BCC to the community run centres.