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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 July 2007, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Meeting over future of libraries
Plans to save Dorset's rural libraries from closure while tackling a 500,000 funding shortfall are being discussed by council bosses.

Cabinet members meet on Wednesday to discuss keeping the county's 34 libraries open with local communities asked to help fund and run them.

The number of qualified librarians will be cut under the new proposals.

Opening hours will also be reduced along with spending on the county's book fund.

A library budget shortfall of 850,000 led to the council's proposal last year to shut 13 rural libraries, but after consulting local communities, it ruled out any closures.

Libraries under threat
Burton Bradstock
Corfe Castle
Corfe Mullen
Lytchett Matravers
Portland Underhill
Wyke Regis

The council said it has made savings of 306,000, but still has to find more than 500,000.

They also include offering the buildings for the community to use, charging computer users and reducing the spend on new books.

Some local communities will be able to "top up" opening hours, but that would not be funded by the county council.

Paul Leivers, head of cultural services at the county council, said: "These recommendations strike a very difficult balance.

"They aim to build on the consultations with communities and enable the council to show real leadership by talking to communities about transferring library buildings for wider community use - in addition to continued library use.

"They would enable services to be provided from all existing libraries.

"However, there are also risks, as well as likely impacts on the quality of the library service and its accessibility, and on staff morale."

Library closures may go on hold
08 Jun 06 |  Dorset

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