CAMPAIGNERS looking to save eight Libraries faced with the withdrawal of council funding have received the backing of their local MPs.

Members of the Ad Lib (Association of the Friends of Dorset Libraries) are trying to keep eight libraries in the county open as community-run facilities when Dorset County Council withdraws funding in September.

The group has now received backing from West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin and South Dorset MP Richard Drax at a meeting in Dorchester, as well as the support of MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, Annette Brook.

The county council agreed to withdraw core funding from nine libraries last year and it was announced last month that Portland Underhill Library would be closing its doors.

Ad Lib is still hoping to see the remaining eight libraries – which include those at Chickerell, Puddletown, Burton Bradstock and Wool – open and the council has offered to support volunteers from the community take over the running of the premises.

The other libraries faced with the withdrawal of funding are at Charmouth, Colehill, Corfe Castle and Stalbridge.

Tim Lee, from Ad Lib, said the group was still waiting for clear details on exactly what the council’s offer of support would involve.

He said: “Our problem is that so many questions about how the council’s help will work remain unanswered. We all feel that without such detail it is going to be difficult for us to sign up to the deal we must make with the county council before we can take over the running of our libraries.”

Ad Lib chairman Graham Lee told the MPs at their recent meeting that the group was not ungrateful for the county council’s offer of support, it just felt more details were needed.

He said: “We emphasised how vital it is that public money continues to be made available so that councils like Dorset can maintain a comprehensive range of libraries.”

Mr Letwin said: “I’m massively enthusiastic about trying to get the community libraries to work and I intend to do everything I can to help the libraries in West Dorset succeed in doing that.”

Mr Drax said that he and Mr Letwin would be writing to the council in support of Ad Lib but also stressed that the onus was on local people to come forward and support their libraries. He said: “The main emphasis of this is on local people to respond to their local needs and run the libraries themselves.”

The Ad Lib members also updated the MPs on their complaint to the Local Govern-ment Ombudsman over the way the decision to close the libraries was made by the council.

The Ombudsman has asked for further details of the Ad Lib case.