Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton libraries face axe unless volunteers come forward

Image caption The council will encourage community-led schemes to run the axed libraries

Five libraries in Southampton are set to be shut unless volunteers come forward to run them.

The city council has been consulting on the plans since last year as it tries to make budget savings.

A report, which councillors will vote on next week, recommends saving six libraries.

But five others, along with the mobile service, will be axed unless community-led initiatives are set up to keep them open.

Image caption A silent protest was held in Southampton earlier this year

The proposals have faced opposition with an estimated 150 people staging a silent protest through Southampton in March.

The report recommends Bitterne Library, Central Library, Portswood Library, Woolston Library, Shirley Library and Lordshill Library to remain open.

But it says Burgess Road, Cobbett Road, Millbrook, Thornhill and Weston libraries should no longer be funded and managed by the council.

The move would save about £285,000 per year, the report added.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, member for communities, culture and leisure said: "The consultation showed that Southampton can have an efficient library service if we implement the preferred option, with 99% of households being within a 1.5 mile distance from their closest library.

"However, the findings of the consultation also show the important role that libraries play in Southampton's communities, so a decision on whether to introduce a community package will also be made, to allow this to continue."

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