Concerns have been raised over the new customer service contact-points available in libraries, amid claims they fail to offer residents enough privacy.

The contact-points, where residents can have their council service requests dealt with in person, were introduced to Maidenhead, Windsor and Ascot libraries in July.

But last week regular Maidenhead Library goer, Kathy Swift, 60, slated the set-up as she could clearly overhear conversations at the two desks, which are within centimetres of the regular book shelves.

Mrs Swift, of High Street, Ascot, who moved from Maidenhead not long ago, said: “It is all open plan and is close to where people go to choose their latest crime novel.”

She said that an elderly, vulnerable man had been enquiring about his council tax at the library, in St Ives Road, and personal information was freely being discussed. This was on Thursday, October 5.

She said: “There was a woman talking to an elderly gentleman and he had no screen behind him – I thought it was a bit odd. You could hear his address as well as the address of someone else.

“I guess people know they are in a public place but I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t give my personal details out in a public library.

“When they (council) said they were introducing this I thought they would have had something like pods.”

Mrs Swift said she had data protection concerns over the set up.

A spokesman for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said: “We welcome feedback on the new library and resident services and are pleased to say there has been a very low number of complaints, which we have listened to and taken into account.

“As part of the service design we have included a mixture of private meeting rooms, which can be requested by anyone to talk with an advisor, and a variety of spaces, to meet residents’ varying needs.

“We are also in the process of securing sound absorbing units to keep different uses of the libraries acoustically separate, without detracting from the look and feel of the buildings as service hubs including a full range of library activity.

“There has been a lot of positive feedback about the library and resident services and we will continue to look at ways to improve this offer.”