PROTESTERS in Lyme and Charmouth have welcomed concessions over their libraries but insist the renewed offer is still not good enough.

Dorset County Council is now proposing to provide 300 to 500 new books annually, computers, self-serve facilities, book circulation and trained staff for three hours a week.

Under this proposal, community libraries would have to pay a peppercorn lease for the building and commit to an agreed number of opening hours by volunteers.

The buildings would be available for other community uses, but costs such as utilities, maintenance, and insurance would have to be met by fundraising, income-producing activities, or contributions from local councils.

Campaigners in Lyme say despite the revised offer, they are still fighting to remain part of the core library network.

Speaking for the campaigners, Anita Williams said: “We welcome Dorset Library Service’s revised offer, which provides for something that looks much more like a library service than the previous offer. “However, we are still of the view that Lyme Regis should remain as part of the core library network and should be funded by Dorset County Council. We still see no reason why Lyme residents should pay for their own library service when it will remain fully funded for other communities.” The campaigners are continuing to work with Lyme Regis Town Council and Lyme Regis Development Trust to negotiate with the county council to find a solution that provides a funded library.

They are also pushing for an even better service in future.

“Library users have consistently told us that the 20 hours per week service that we have currently is not good enough,” said Ms Williams.

In Charmouth, campaigners have warned that large numbers of volunteers would have to be found to make the revised proposals work.

Hazel Robinson, chairman of the Friends of Charmouth Library, said this is a difficult proposition in a county where so many people are already volunteering for other things.

She said: “We know that once our smaller libraries come partially out of the main system, it is unlikely they will ever be let back in as full participants, even when the economic crisis eases. “We had been guardedly optimistic that the initial offer would be improved but this is be no means the end of the story as far as we are concerned.”

Debbie Ward, Dorset County Council director for adult and community services, said: “We have listened carefully to what local communities have had to say, specifically about the kind of help they would need to make this approach work. As a result, we are proposing to enhance the offer to provide extra resources and support.”

The Lyme group is holding a second public meeting on Monday, May 23 at 7.30pm in the Woodmead Halls to consult further with library users.