CAMPAIGNERS trying to save Dorset’s libraries will return to the council chamber tomorrow as members debate proposals to withdraw funding from the service.

It is D-Day for nine of the county’s libraries, which face closure under Dorset County Council’s budget cuts. The council will be asked to consider two options which have been recommended by the cabinet.

The first is to withdraw funding for nine libraries – Colehill, Wool, Corfe Castle, Stalbridge, Portland Underhill, Charmouth, Burton Bradstock, Chickerell and Puddletown – and retain 25 core libraries.

This would be supported by a resources fund of £530,000, a mobile library provision and access to a range of online resources and services.

The second proposal is to keep all the libraries open, keeping a resources fund of £434,000, mobile library provision and online resources.

Both options include a reduction in book fund, management and support staff as the introduction of income options. The second option would involve a larger reduction in book fund.

Graham Lee, chairman of the Association of the Friends of Dorset Libraries (ADLIB), said he hopes residents will attend the meeting to express their views.

“Four years ago the council decided not to follow the recommendation to close 13 libraries and we are hoping this time they will act similarly.

“We have regard for the Dorset Library Service, we just don’t want to see it broken up. Bournemouth and Poole haven’t lost their libraries, so why Dorset?”

He said ADLIB have put forward a number of suggestions to enable the council to secure additional income from the service, such as charging for book reservations.

Mr Lee said the group is also keeping a close eye on the first High Court battle about library closures.

Yesterday campaign lawyers for Brent applied for a judicial review, arguing council officers unlawfully failed to assess local needs and the likely impact of closing half the London borough libraries.

If successful, the Brent case is expected to be followed by similar challenges to cuts proposed by Gloucestershire, Somerset and Isle of Wight councils.