RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say on the proposed library closures – whether they use the service or not.

Questionnaires are now available in the libraries and online as part of Dorset County Council’s consultation on proposals to withdraw funding from 20 of its 34 libraries.

One questionnaire is aimed at people who use – or would use – the 20 threatened libraries, including Lyme and Charmouth, and another questionnaire is aimed at users of the saved libraries, such as Bridport.

Representatives for the threatened libraries met with council chiefs at a seminar last week as part of the consultation, when they discussed the terms on which the communities could take over the running of the libraries.

Hazel Robinson, acting chairman of the Friends of Charmouth Library, is calling on all residents to fill out the questionnaire.

She said: “What we want to say to the 14 saved libraries, especially Bridport, is have sympathy for the ones they are trying to close.

“Even those who don’t use the library must have a point of view.”

The questionnaire outlines two main proposals – withdrawing funding from 20 libraries and encouraging communities to take over their ownership, or proposal two would save all 34 libraries by cutting the book budget, opening hours, and management and support costs.

Mrs Robinson said they came away from the event at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester with a slightly more positive view.

“It is a very guarded optimism because there is a long way to go,” she said.

Mrs Robinson said the meeting was ‘quite hostile’ towards the library bosses.

Marshwood Vale county councillor Col Geoffrey Brierley said the meeting had an element of ‘predetermination’.

He said: “This particular meeting was held on the premise that communities would take over the libraries.

“It was quite clear from the meeting that nobody there was pre-disposed to take over the libraries from the county council.”

The consultation has been extended until June 13 but Col Brierley said it ‘still isn’t good enough’, because new councils would only have chance to hold one meeting before it ends.

The questionnaire is available in libraries or at