SUPPORTERS of Charmouth Library are urging people to sign an e-petition in support of threatened libraries all over the country.

Dorset County Council has decided to withdraw funding from nine of its libraries from September 2012, including Charmouth.

The Women’s Institute has now launched an online petition calling on the government to ‘honour its commitment to act as a champion of the library service’.

The Friends of Charmouth Library are signing the petition and are encouraging others to do the same.

Chairman Hazel Robinson said: “The Women’s Institute has been successful in the past in changing government policy.

“Perhaps they will be able, as others have not, to get the Secretary of State to engage with the destruction of our library system throughout the country. “The law says he has a duty to safeguard a free library service which must be ‘efficient and comprehensive’ but it’s a duty he’s been ignoring.

“He has already received pleas and deputations from Friends of Libraries in many counties but has put them all off with excuses which have resulted in expensive judicial reviews. “In Dorset, AdLib (Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries) will be adding its voice to the others but, without more muscle, this will no doubt also be ignored.

“If the WI e-petition gets 100,000 signatures, the issue must be considered for parliamentary debate so the Secretary of State will no longer be able to hide behind excuses.”

The petition will be sent to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and has almost 6,800 signatures.

It says: “I, the undersigned, believe that libraries are an essential local educational and information resource yet with many libraries under threat, the future of the library service is at risk.

“I want to see the value of libraries recognised at both local and national levels and I am calling on the government to honour both its commitment to act as a champion of the library service, and its duty of oversight to ensure that a comprehensive and efficient library service is provided.”

After months of debate and protests on the future of Dorset’s libraries, the final decision to close nine libraries was made by Dorset County Council last month.

Councillors were asked to vote on two proposals for the future of the library service in a bid to save £800,000.

The communities who lost their libraries have until September 2012 to come up with a community scheme to keep the facility open and to find the funds and volunteers.

Sign the e-petition at