Lyme Regis and Charmouth residents are being called upon to help save their community’s at-risk libraries.

Both are on a list of 20 libraries earmarked for closure by Dorset County Council (DCC).

The move would save the council more than £650,000 for 2011/12, with further savings necessary over the next three years.

A report due to go before DCC’s Community Overview Committee on Thursday will set out the authority’s proposed approach to delivering library services.

Dorset library services manager Tracy Long says in the report: “Decisions will need to be made on what services to reduce in order to achieve target budget savings.

“It is proposed that funding will cease for up to 20 communities where there is currently a library.”

Petitions have now been launched in Lyme and Charmouth in the fight to save both libraries.

At Lyme Regis, the town council is backing the campaign and has sent a letter to DCC.

Town clerk Mike Lewis said: “There are only two options – either the community controls the library and runs it itself, or it closes. There seems to be no mid way where the hours are reduced slightly.

“It is a vital service at this end of the county.”

Mr Lewis said Uplyme residents also tend to use Lyme – or even Charmouth – library, rather than Axminster.

Uplyme Parish Council has urged residents who use the facilities to show their support.

A petition launched on Saturday at the open day of the former Lyme Regis Club for Young People collected 275 signatures.

Residents are urged to sign the petition, which is available at the town council offices, Lyme Stores and Fordhams in Broad Street, and LymeNet Charmouth Library was threatened with closure in 2004 and again in 2006.

A group of concerned villagers met with Marshwood Vale county councillor Col Geoffrey Brierley on Saturday.

They said there has been a ‘total blackout’ of information on the proposed closures.

The group said: “Closing Charmouth Library will be terrible for our population. Dorset is a rural county with over 30 per cent of the population served by the 20 libraries threatened with closure.”

They said the closure would impact particularly on the elderly, mothers and toddlers, schoolchildren, and book groups.

“Loss of Charmouth Library will cause significant deprivation to residents of Charmouth, surrounding villages and a large local area,” they said.

“We are not charity cases – residents in the 20 communities pay rates and our rates buy over 30 per cent of the book stocks and over 30 per cent of the library services.”

The Charmouth petition will be at various locations in the village.

To register your views with DCC email libraryreview@ THE Bizley family from Lyme Regis will definitely be signing the petition.

Dad Richard, mum Ruth, daughters Laura, 20, and Katie, 18, and son Michael, 14, are all members of Lyme Regis Library.

Woodroffe School pupil Michael mainly uses the library for HeadSpace, a dedicated youth session on Thursday evenings.

He said: “Mainly we just chill out, meet friends outside school and sometimes they have activities.

“I would be very disappointed if it closed. I wouldn’t have anywhere to go on Thursday evenings and I would just be on the computer at home.”

Mrs Bizley, 44, uses the library at least once a week. She said: “I love going up there and browsing.

“At the moment I’m doing a training course and I have to get particular books and the librarian can get hold of them for me, which saves me from buying them.

“I was horrified when I first heard. It’s so convenient to be able to just walk up there and not to have to travel to Bridport.”

Mr Bizley, 51, is deaf but recently had a new hearing implant and is using audio books to learn sounds and words. He said: “It’s a really important part of helping to hear.”

Mr Bizley said it seems ‘ridiculous’ to have to travel to Bridport to use the library.

“We’re told not to use cars so much and there are buses but I work full time and some weekends, so you tell me how do I get there?

“I probably wouldn’t bother - it would be too inconvenient.”