Lyme Regis library has been named on a list of six in the county with a chance of surviving closure, it has been claimed.

Campaigners have been told by library bosses that Dorset County Council recognises some threatened libraries are open to challenge.

The Save the Lyme Regis Library group held a public meeting on Monday at the Woodmead Halls to update residents on the campaign.

Although only a handful of people turned up, group member Wendy Davies said ‘smaller numbers do not mean less interest’.

Library services manager Tracy Long also met with the new Lyme Regis Town Council last Wednesday as part of the consultation process.

The council is proposing to withdraw funding from 20 of its 34 libraries.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Mrs Davies said: “Tracy Long explained there was a list of libraries, there were six libraries where they thought it might be open to challenge and Lyme Regis was on that list.

“But there was nothing to say those libraries were safe, it was them recognising that those libraries could potentially fight it.”

Campaigners are currently developing an alternative proposal to move the library to an alternative location in the town, and combine with other services.

This would provide a more comprehensive service with lower overheads, but would require continued funding from the county council, they said.

Campaigner and town councillor Anita Williams acknowledged that the library building in Silver Street was ‘coming to the end of its life’.

She said: “We accept that the building as it stands and the current provision is a problem, but we think if they were to provide the funding to provide a library service somewhere else, we could have a service that is much better.”

The campaign group said they could not reveal details of the proposal until the other parties involved have confirmed their interest, but Lyme Regis Development Trust is involved in the talks.

County councillors are due to discuss the closures at a meeting of the Community Overview Committee on June 20.

The campaigners hope their proposal is included in the report, and if not, warned there would be ‘placard waving’ outside County Hall.

Representatives of all 34 of Dorset’s libraries were due to meet with council officials on Tuesday afternoon, when it was hoped the saved libraries would show their support for the threatened ones.

Officers are also expected to visit Lyme Regis on Thursday.

Campaigner and town councillor Lorna Jenkin said: “County council officers, at their request, will come and look around the town, look at the library, see for themselves what the building looks like, talk to the development trust, and sit down and hear what we have to say.”

A Dorset County Council spokesman said: “Dorset County Council has not removed six community libraries from the list of 20 which may be offered up to local communities to run.

“Several months ago, the policy development panel for libraries discussed the possibility of looking again at our criteria for retaining libraries, taking into account issues such as social deprivation and geography, and mooted a number of community libraries which might be added to our 'core' list of 14 libraries. Lyme Regis was one of the ones suggested.

“However, the full county council subsequently agreed (in February) to begin public consultation on the proposals to offer up 20 libraries for local communities to take over running, and – at the same time – examine other ways in which those 20 libraries could continue to be supported by the county council.

“We are now meeting with communities, including Lyme Regis, to explore a range of ideas and options around the community offer. Following that consultation, we will be presenting options to the council's community overview committee for further debate and discussion in June.”

n Residents are being asked to share ideas on how library services can be protected at a series of informal sessions in communities.

The Dorset Library Service consultation questionnaire is already available to complete and sets out two proposals to make £800,000 savings. Now there will be a series of drop-in sessions at 20 community libraries over the coming weeks for Dorset residents to have an additional opportunity to provide feedback on the proposals.

A session will be held at Lyme Regis library on Monday, June 6 from 10.30am to midday, and at Charmouth library on Wednesday, June 8 from 3pm to 4.30pm.

For more information on the proposals, see the consultation questionnaire in the libraries or visit

The consultation period runs until June 13 and the results of the consultation will be considered by county councillors in July. Any further queries should be directed to Tracy Long at or 01305 224578.