Libraries will now double up as the places to go for people wanting information about the district council.

Staff in Waltham Abbey, Loughton, Ongar and Buckhurst Hill libraries, who are employed by Essex County Council, now have the task of helping people with queries about Epping Forest District Council.

Hal Ulkun, the district council’s support services portfolio holder, said: “I am delighted to announce this new partnership with Essex County Council.

“Money is tight for everyone and it makes great financial sense for both Epping Forest District and Essex County Council to co-operate by reducing costs.

“Library staff are already experts in searching for and providing information for residents.”

People working in libraries were trained to help with district council queries in December.

As part of the arrangement, which came into effect at the end of January, people can call the council on dedicated phones in each library and access services, such as planning and housing, on library computers.

The kiosk in Waltham Abbey Town Hall where cash payments can be made to the council is set to move to the town’s library in Sun Street later in the year.

The council will continue to run its information desk at its Epping High Street offices and centres in The Broadway in Debden and Limes Farm Community Hall in Chigwell will remain open.