THE axing of Poole's mobile library has been described as a "very sad day" by a councillor whose Merley residents are among those to be left without any alternative provision.

Cllr David Brown, who fought to retain the vehicle which costs taxpayers £50,000 a year, said it visited three stops in Merley every fortnight and two sheltered housing complexes.

"There is no alternative for the people who live in Merley," he said. "It is a very sad day to see the end of the mobile library. It has been running all these years serving hundreds of people."

He added that he was supportive of community libraries which were being set up in some areas that were losing the service, and was a volunteer at one of the two in Bearwood.

Borough of Poole says the ageing mobile library vehicle was being used less and less, with 266 users in the past year compared to 297 in the previous year and eight out of the 11 stops averaging six visitors or less during a typical 50-minute visit.

Public consultation results last year were used to plan the future service, which includes new small community-run libraries in outlying locations, while the Home Library Service delivered by the Royal Voluntary Service has expanded to sheltered housing and residential homes which used the mobile library.

"I welcome the decision by cabinet to progress the work to reshape our community library services and withdraw the mobile library vehicle," said Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for libraries.

"We know people value the library services very highly and there has been a huge amount of work and good will between our library staff and community groups in setting up alternative provision.

"The community libraries mean local residents have a greater offer in terms of times that a library service is available to them and we hope this type of provision grows into other local communities.”

A downloadable audio book service and an e-book service, both of which are free and do not require a visit to a library, are also available.