Libraries users will be given a voice to find alternatives to fund and save their service.

Dorset County Council’s proposals to withdraw funding from 20 of the county’s 34 libraries have been met with fierce opposition and more than 13,000 people penned a protest petition.

Library supporters claim the terms put forward by the council for communities to take on the service are unworkable with few likely to take them up, forcing closures.

Libraries under threat include: Littlemoor, Wyke Regis, Portland Tophill, Portland Underhill, Crossways and Puddletown. Cabinet member for community services Hilary Cox told fellow councillors that the offer to communities was ‘not set in stone’ and could be revised following a consultation process over the next three months.

She said: “We will continue to work with communities where funding for libraries will cease in April, 2012.

“The offer we are going out to consultation on is only a proposed offer, it is not set in stone.

“There are ways that we think the offer can be improved but we need to hear from the communities on how to improve it, that is what we are consulting on. We know it’s not perfect, how could we possibly get it right first time?”

Council leader Angus Campbell added: “What it requires is for people to work on this from all sides, both from the community upwards as well as the council downwards.”

Members of the cabinet agreed to recommend to full council that the proposed library strategy, which includes the withdrawal of funding from the 20 libraries, be approved.

Councillors also agreed to take into account the findings of the policy development panel that is currently working on the review of the libraries and will be considering feedback from the consultation.

Tim Lee, from Adlib the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries, said the consultation was ‘flawed’.

He said it didn’t look at other ways of saving money other than withdrawing funds from rural libraries.

Mr Lee added: “We are starting off with a totally flawed document, which doesn’t give us a lot of hope.

“What we don’t know is what extra ways savings could be made from the library budget.

“These won’t necessarily be discussed with individual libraries during the consultation.

“That’s the real problem, and that’s what we will be saying to the full council on February 17.”