Blackheath and Oldbury’s brand new libraries are proving a hit with bookworms after figures revealed thousands of people are flocking to them.

Record numbers of people visited the two purpose built new libraries over the summer with book borrowing and computer usage increasing.

A total of 1,176 people became members at Blackheath in June and July, up from 103 in the same period last year , an 1,041 per cent increase and at Oldbury the figure is 1,151 from April to July, up from 211 - a 445% increase.

Blackheath Library opened in May and Oldbury in March.

.Sandwell Council's cabinet member for leisure services Councillor Linda Horton said the membership boom showed libraries were alive and kicking in the borough.

She said: “These are tremendous figures which prove there is a clear demand for 21st century libraries offering modern facilities and services.

“Our aim is to safeguard and improve our library service at a time of Government cuts and these two libraries show the benefits of sharing facilities, wherever that is possible and appropriate to the needs of local communities."

The council caused consternation among library staff when it mooted plans to draft volunteers into the library service in a bid to save money.

Last month library assistants, furious about reorganisation of staff pay grading, announced they would work to rule and stop advising people on how to complete job application forms, stop giving advice on reading materials, stop giving advice to groups of users and reading groups, stop outreach work at schools and organising events and stop providing guidance to people on how to use computer software The council is currently holding a public consultation about changes to the libraries in Sandwell and a report outlining proposals is expected to go to the cabinet shortly.