SELF-SERVICE kiosks and reduced opening hours are two of several changes to the town's libraries that have begun to take effect.

Following a service review and public consultation in 2015, Reading Borough Council (RBC) pledged to keep all libraries open by lowering running costs.

As part of the effort to save £290,000, books can now be checked out by library users, in a similar way to self-service checkouts at supermarkets.

Since April 1 opening hours have been cut. Caversham library will only operate for 35 hours a week for example, a 15.5 hour weekly reduction.

Also, customers can now access a new catalogue website that launched on March 14.

Councillor Paul Gittings, RBC’s lead member for culture and sport, said: “I’m pleased to see that all the new self-service kiosks are now successfully in place and offering members a quick and efficient way of issuing, returning and paying for items.

“We are committed to ensuring our libraries continue to be at the heart of communities, helping everyone achieve their full potential.

“We are making the very best of our available resources, adapting to the changing expectations from residents and building on our increasingly important role as community hubs.”

Reading Chronicle:

The new self-service checkouts at Caversham Library

One man who was less impressed with the changes was Danny Darcy, who used the self service machines in Caversham Library.

"Is nowhere safe from these proliferating monsters taking over human's jobs?" he said.

"First the banks, then the supermarkets, now they're even occupying local libraries. Have Reading Borough Council gone gaga?

"I ask this after walking into Caversham Library and seeing these three massive black in-your-face monsters confronting me, barring my way to the counter.

"Not only are they pug ugly and intimidating, but they're in the way of making any contact with those lovely humans manning the counter behind them."

From early 2018, Whitley library will relocate to a new home at South Reading Youth and Community Centre, followed by Southcote library which will move into Southcote Community Centre.

In the past year new features brought into the town's libraries include an eBook service, an updated computer network and free Wi-Fi.

Have you had an experience of the self-service checkouts or any of the new library services? Tell us in the comment below or email