TEN of Dorset’s threatened libraries could be spared after council officers backed new proposals for the future of the service in Dorset.

However, library campaigners are still angry as they claim a panel of councillors’ calls to keep open all 34 of the county’s libraries are being ignored.

The future of the library service is to be debated at a meeting of Dorset County Council’s community overview committee on Monday June 20, where members will consider four options put forward by officers.

These include the original proposal, Option A, to withdraw funding from 20 of the council’s 34 libraries in a bid to save around £800,000.

A new option, Option B, presented in the report is to continue to provide council funding for 24 libraries and making the additional savings required through a reduction in book funds and staff.

The report states that Option B is the preferred choice of the officers.

The remaining two options both involve retaining all 34 libraries by finding the savings through other means.

Option C involves the reduction of opening hours across all libraries by 10 per cent, as well as cutting book funds and staff.

Option D proposes similar cuts to book funds and staff as well as a review of the way books are bought.

The report states that the policy development panel – a group of councillors appointed in July last year to consider the options for the future of the library service – was in favour of Option D.

Tim Lee, acting chairman of Ad Lib (the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries), said: “We are astounded that the unelected officials of the library service should have the effrontery to insist on their own policy of getting rid of libraries against the wishes of the councillors who have spent months weighing up all the options.”

The community overview committee will make a recommendation that will go before the council’s cabinet on July 6 and then full council on July 21.


Option B, which is the preferred option of council officers, proposed maintaining the 14 ‘core’ libraries across Dorset and a further 10 that have been at risk during the consultation process.

The 10 libraries that could be spared from the threat of closure are: Beaminster, Corfe Mullen, Crossways, Littlemoor, Lyme Regis, Lytchett Matravers, Portland Tophill, Sturminster Newton, Upton and Wyke Regis.

The libraries that would still face the withdrawal of funding are: Burton Bradstock, Charmouth, Chickerell, Colehill, Corfe Castle, Portland Underhill, Puddletown, Stalbridge, West Moors and Wool.

Mr Chaney said that the majority of these libraries were unlikely to be able to take up the council’s offer to run themselves as community libraries and faced the prospect of closure.