An official shortlist of potential partners to run the borough’s libraries has been released.

Wandsworth and Croydon councils are working together to find a company to run its libraries and have narrowed the list of potential candidates to three: John Laing Integrated Services Ltd, Greenwich Leisure Ltd and an in-house Wandsworth council service.

A preferred bidder is due to be selected later this year.

Croydon cabinet member for children, young people and learning Councillor Tim Pollard said: "Contracted services have saved local authorities such as ours many millions of pounds over the years.

"This exercise is an exciting opportunity to replicate these efficiencies and, at the same time, deliver some real improvements and innovations that will be for the benefit of all our customers."

The successful contractor will be expected to continue providing core library services free of charge to users, while library buildings will remain in the ownership of the local authority.

Wandsworth environment and culture spokesman Councillor Jonathan Cook said: "The libraries in our two boroughs are among the most popular and best loved in London. Our aim is to build on these achievements and deliver a new and improved service for our residents.

"Our partnership with Croydon will utilise the latest service innovations while also allowing us to generate savings by sharing overheads and purchasing power.

"In these tough economic times we must ensure libraries continue to evolve and keep pace with fast changing needs and demands from the public."

Both councils have promised libraries will not be shut.

A consultation process is underway with residents in Upper Norwood over the Upper Norwood Joint Library, previously jointly run by Croydon and Lambeth councils.

Results of the consultation are expected to be published after the summer.