Charmouth library campaigners are putting plans in place to run the facility themselves – if the worst should happen.

The Friends of Charmouth Library have been exploring alternatives if Dorset County Council goes ahead with proposals to withdraw funding from 20 of its libraries.

The authority has entered into a three-month consultation on proposals to hand the libraries over to community groups.

It has also agreed to consider ideas suggested by Dorset-wide campaign group Ad Lib that could keep the 20 threatened libraries open, including Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

Library supporters in Charmouth will this week meet with West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin to determine how he could influence the matter in Parliament.

They will also discuss with him solutions to retain a book lending service in the village if the library funding is withdrawn.

The meeting is on Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at St Andrew’s Community Hall, Lower Sea Lane, and is open to all villagers and interested people from surrounding areas.

Hazel Robinson, acting chairman of the Friends of Charmouth Library, said: “So many people in Charmouth have written to Oliver Letwin that he felt he must respond and come and meet some of the people.

“We will try to address with him the things he can influence more on a parliamentary level.

“For example, asking him if he can amend the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 so all over the country there can be a tiny charge for books so none of our libraries will have to be closed.

“His attention has been drawn to the fact that this library issue is quite a hotly-pursued topic, not just locally in our West Dorset area but throughout Dorset.

“I think it’s an issue he could help us with. The Government at the moment is stepping back and we need them to be more interventionalist.”

County councillor David Crowhurst, chairman of the Policy Development Panel, which is working on the review of the libraries, has also agreed to attend the meeting.

Mrs Robinson said Charmouth has a different ‘agenda’ to Lyme Regis, which is considering how the library service could be improved in the town by combining it with other facilities.

“We have been trying to find a solution like that but so far we haven’t been able to because there isn’t the property in Charmouth to do it,” she said.

“Our thoughts are now going towards keeping the building.

“We would have to pay all of the running costs and raise money.”