Changes to library services across the borough have not come without a price, according to sceptics.

Questions have been raised as to how many library staff actually left positions in the recent shake-up and redistribution of staff across Richmond’s libraries, and how many were pushed out, despite facilities remaining open for 52 hours a week more.

Reader John Hancock, of Castelnau, said he knew of at least two librarians who were made redundant.

Richmond Council defended its position and said no library assistants were made redundant but some staff had retired or taken voluntary redundancy.

Mr Hancock wrote: “More than 10 library staff took voluntary redundancy and a wholesale turnaround of staff ensued.

“I hate to think of all the experience built up over a number of years that the library has lost, not to mention the local contacts and community involved that has been curtailed.”

A leaving party was even held at Twickenham library on Tuesday, May 1, to say farewell to 12 staff members.

A former library worker, who asked not to be named, said moving library staff around had made it harder for people to work out what was going on.

He added: “The redistribution of staff had been brought up ages ago, for what seemed no good reason, [but it] is now explained.

“There were 11 staff made redundant plus three or four who refused to move to different libraries and walked out.”

He said he knew of three librarians or assistants, two back room and seven frontline staff who left in the move.

A Richmond Council spokesman insisted no library assistants were the subject of compulsory redundancy.

She said: “In order to deliver the service commitments listed in the Connecting Communities strategy, we have undertaken a full restructure of the library service. This has enabled us to improve services by opening libraries for an additional 52 hours per week across the borough.

“Throughout this process, no library assistants were made redundant and there has been no reduction in the services directly offered to customers at any of our libraries, as we have maintained the number of frontline staff.”

The council said during the restructuring process a number of other staff, who did work in libraries, left the service.

This included two part time staff who retired, four part-time and two full-time staff who took voluntary severance and two full time and one part time member of staff who left the service due to compulsory redundancy.