A Charmouth campaigner is urging people who use the main libraries in Dorset... to support the community ones in the county that are under threat of closure.

Dorset County Council is currently consulting on proposals to withdraw funding to 20 of its 34 libraries, including Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

Jan Robertson, a member of the Friends of Charmouth Library and of Ad Lib (Association of Dorset Libraries), is urging users of the 14 main libraries, including Bridport, to spare a thought for the smaller ones at risk.

Dorset County Council has opened formal consultation, which includes questionnaires in libraries and online, on the future of libraries and plans to save £800,000.

Campaign group Ad Lib has put forward an alternative plan that will see the savings spread across all 34 libraries in a bid to keep them all open and under council control.

Mrs Robertson, 67, described the county council’s proposal as ‘dire’ and said she would urge all library users – whether their library is safe or not – to back Ad Lib’s proposal. She said: “Many innovative schemes have been presented by readers of the 20 smaller community libraries to Dorset County Council for easy, painless, and minimally-disruptive ways to save the required £800,000 to keep the whole library system open – Ad Lib’s proposal can achieve this.

“It requires a small reduction of total library hours across the system and a reduction in the amount spent on new books each year.

“By voting for proposal two and the minor inconveniences that may result, you will make all the difference to us – the difference between having no books and our libraries shut and being able to keep our libraries.”

Mrs Robertson added that some library users would have to travel more than 14 miles to reach one of the main libraries if the community ones closed.

She said: “We 20 communities who currently have libraries will, if our libraries are closed, have to travel 14 or more miles to get to and from the next nearest library.

“More distant readers who normally use their nearest community library will have to travel even further. For the disadvantaged in our communities, the situation is especially dire.

“Buses are infrequent and expensive, the price of fuel rises and the disabled, elderly, mums with young families, families without cars and the low-waged are really going to struggle.

“Please help the 20 smaller community libraries to stay open.”

Libraries in Charmouth, Lyme Regis, Chickerell, Crossways, Littlemoor, Portland Tophill, Portland Underhill, Puddletown, Wool, Wyke Regis and Burton Bradstock are among the 20 under threat.