County chiefs are looking to boost civic coffers by hiring out surplus space in libraries as “hot offices.”

Plans include leasing rooms on a daily rate or longer-term commercial lease to businesses and individuals.

Library chiefs say many reference books can now be read on-line via sub-scription sites in libraries so less space is needed for books. In addition, the council is now offering free Wi-Fi for visitors with their own laptops.

According to a report presented to a council report, £150,000 was generated from hiring out rooms in 53 libraries to community groups in 2012-13. The plan is to increase this figure.