Villagers are being told to volunteer to work for free in their libraries or face seeing them closed as Wiltshire Council bids to save more money.

Meanwhile bigger libraries face a cut in hours.

But talks between Pewsey councillor Jerry Kunkler and Wiltshire libraries Cabinet member John Thomson have averted the threatened closure of the village library on Saturdays.

Cabinet members voted on Tuesday for the library cuts to go through but said Pewsey would remain open on a Saturday.

Coun Kunkler, who chairs Pewsey Area Board, said after the meeting that if sufficient volunteers came forward to help run the brand new library, which opened just six weeks ago, then instead of any cuts in hours it could be open for longer.

Coun Kunkler said after Tuesday’s meeting: “The new library is proving to be a great success and by this morning had received 109 new members since the opening on December 17.”

“I am appealing to any volunteers who can put in a few hours on a regular basis to go along to the library and speak to the staff.”

Ten of the 31 council operated libraries in the county will be closed unless volunteers agree to keep them open.

They include libraries at Aldbourne, Box, Lyneham, Market Lavington, Purton and Ramsbury as well as others in the south of the county.

Wiltshire Council will continue to pay for the running costs of the library and a librarian will tour the libraries on a rota, working at each site for five hours per week.

If community groups fail to take up the offer the library will be closed and the council’s five mobile libraries will service the communities for three hours per week.

The cost-cutting exercise will save around £500,000 over two years. The budget for buying new books will be reduced from £861,000 to £720,000.

Before Christmas 17.5 full time posts were made redundant from library services.

More librarians will be made redundant as part of the community transfer, which council bosses hope will take place by September.

Council leader Jane Scott said: “Because of Government cuts and pressures on our budget we need to have a different approach to our communities and that is what they are calling the Big Society. This will involve communities taking on libraries so that their future can be safeguarded.”

Coun John Thomson, cabinet member for libraries, said: “These communities can probably run the library much more effectively than the council ever could.”

Libraries across Wiltshire that are not threatened by closure will have their opening hours reduced.

Cricklade and Pewsey will be cut from 20 and 24 hours to 14 hours per week, Corsham, Malmesbury and Marlborough will be cut from 39-and-a-half, 38-and-half and 42-and-a-half hours to 33 hours per week.

Calne will will be cut from 46 to 40 hours, Devizes from 51 to 43 hours, and Chippenham from 55 to 49 hours a week.