Ten libraries across Hampshire have been threatened with closure as the County Council looks to make savings of £1.76 million.

Thirty eight other libraries across the county could have their opening hours reduced.

Hampshire has one of the largest library services in the country, with a network of 48 council-run libraries employing 486 members of staff and 1,266 trained volunteers.

In addition, the county has four community-managed libraries.

Do you choose to send in a carer to an old person that needs to get out of bed in the morning and be fed or do you reduce the opening hours in a library. "The consultation is a very genuine one, we could end up closing no libraries and have a significant reduction in opening hours."

Councillor Sean Woodward, Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage

The 10 libraries threatened with closure are:

  • Blackfield in the New Forest

  • Chineham in Basingstoke

  • Elson in Gosport

  • Emsworth in Havant

  • Fair Oak in Eastleigh

  • Horndean in East Hampshire

  • Lee-on-the-Solent in Gosport

  • Lyndhurst in the New Forest

  • Odiham in Hart

  • South Ham in Basingstoke

Hampshire has a network of 48 council-run libraries Credit: ITV News Meridian

The County Council faces a budget shortfall of approximately £80 million by April 2021, due to Government cuts.

It says all areas are being reviewed to find the savings needed to bridge the current funding gap, despite increased demand for council services.

It's like the thin end of the wedge isn't it. Once it's gone, you've lost it."

Local residents
Credit: ITV News Meridian

A 10-week public consultation began at midday on January 9 and will run until 11:59 on March 18 2020.

A number of drop-in sessions will take place across Hampshire over the next few months to give residents the opportunity to speak with County Council staff leading the consultation.

A decision will be made on the proposals in the summer of 2020, once public feedback has been considered.

Many local residents use their library for internet access Credit: ITV News Meridian