OXFORD Civic Society has said Oxfordshire County Council’s proposals for its library service are “insufficiently wide-ranging” and lack substance.

The influential group, which last year opposed the council’s plans to close 20 out of 43 library branches around the county, said that the new plans formed a “reasonable basis” to reform the service, but said there was no evidence to show they would save enough money.

In a letter to the council, society chairman Peter Thompson said: “The consultation paper largely constitutes a catalogue of good intentions, of which we are fully supportive.

“However, despite this support, we consider the proposals to be insufficiently wide-ranging in reviewing opportunities for the library service, and developing a genuinely imaginative and contemporary service, appreciated by all.

“The lack of substance and detail to the proposals, and the apparent continuing narrowness of vision are not only disappointing, but limit the value of the current consultation.”

Under the council plans, all 43 of the county’s libraries would remain open, but many would rely on volunteers to help staff them.

But Mr Thompson said the council had not demonstrated its reforms could be delivered, but welcomed the intention to keep all the libraries open and well stocked.

The councillor responsible for libraries, Judith Heathcoat, said: "The consultation into our carefully thought through proposal – to keep all 43 libraries open in Oxfordshire – is ongoing and all responses and all views gathered during this process will be analysed and considered before any final decision is made."

The consultation closes on September 30.