A COUNCILLOR has told campaigners trying to save their library to “try and get some volunteers” to run it.

Bournemouth council has been running a consultation on the future of Ensbury Park Library.

The authority has admitted its preferred option is to move its services from the Columbia Road site to Bournemouth Learning Centre on Ensbury Avenue.

This prompted two residents attending January’s Community and Overview Scrutiny Panel to accuse the borough of being biased in favour of this option and of “missing facts” from the documents its officers had prepared.

But after they had their say, Cllr Nick Rose, who represents Westbourne and West Cliff, suggested the council look at alternative volunteer-run models he said are used in "villages around Dorset".

“I can’t see anywhere in here any proposals or suggestions about volunteers running the place with maybe supervision from a paid member of council staff," said Cllr Rose.

“So I would like to throw the ball back into your court because at the end of the day if you guys can get regular volunteers committed to do this – to manage the place, with an occasional paid member of staff to pop in now and then – then that is going to reduce the cost dramatically.

“I saw shaking of heads and mumbling over there – I don’t know what you mean by that cabinet member - but I really think you should try and come back with some volunteers.

“And if you guys, the officers, have had some experience of volunteers in libraries in the town it would be good if that was addressed in the report and maybe the officers could get in touch with these chaps and have a chat about the process to do such a thing.”

Resident Keith Watson said Ensbury Park Library is "vital to the community" and criticised the council's consultation and questionnaire documents.

“The facts dealing with finance only do not state what is being lost to Ensbury Park Library and the questions asked are presented in such a way as to lead people to choose option one,” said Mr Watson. “Both are biased to the council’s choice. All libraries are different – you cannot judge them on purely financial terms."

A spokesperson for the council's consultation manager said: “The consultation document and supporting questionnaire has been written with the intent of providing respondents with factual information so they can provide an informed response to the consultation.”

The deadline for residents to respond to the consultation was on Monday, February 1.