Library users have slammed Waltham Forest Council’s multi-million pound investment in four libraries as smaller facilities miss out on the funding.

The council is spending £5 million turning four libraries in Chingford, Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow into ‘Library Plus’ centres, offering a range of services in addition to lending books and having computers.

However, not a penny of it will go to the borough's smaller libraries.

The Hale End Library Users Group criticised the decision, accusing the authority of ignoring smaller libraries, such as the one in Hale End Road in Highams Park, where they claim book stock rarely changes and IT equipment is growing “ancient”.

Group member Oliver Shykles said: “It really does stink. When we’re talking about £5 million and it’s going to just a few libraries, that’s pretty outrageous.

“The investment won’t be that good for the people in the borough who can’t travel to these ones. People looking for jobs might not have the money to reach them and it would be hard on the elderly.

“It just doesn’t make sense. Job seeking classes could be run from our rooms but they're not. Our computers are pretty ancient.”

The money will ensure the four main libraries can expand the range of services on offer to counter cuts elsewhere in the borough.

The libraries will include services such as birth registrations, children’s centre activities and adult learning courses, as well as possibly including police meetings in future.

The four libraries have had their opening hours extended to open seven-days-a-week, at the expense of smaller local libraries like Hale End, which now opens just four-days-a-week.

The authority closed two libraries in December 2011 – Harrow Green Library in Cathall Road, Leytonstone, and South Chingford Library in Hall Lane.

Two community-run libraries have since opened, butSouth Chingford Community Library volunteer Aktar Beg said they cannot run on willpower alone.

He said: “The council provided us with the offices and books but it’s a long-term thing. We need their support. It’s very hard. It’s a very worrying situation.”

Cllr Ashan Khan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said all libraries were in a good condition and pointed to a recent refurbishment of Hale End Library, which the users group said took place in 2006.

He added: “To ensure our libraries continue to meet the changing needs of our community they have been transformed in consultation with local residents.

“As well as housing a huge range of books, our four Library Plus branches which are located at key transport hubs, now provide a host of additional services. This is not only cost effective, but means that services are easier for residents to access.

“Our Library Locals continue to provide an important community service and we ensure that they are stocked with a variety of books and high quality online reference resources, eBooks and eAudiobooks.

“Their opening hours are developed in consultation with residents.”