Campaigners will call on Southampton’s civic leaders to axe a third of councillors in a bid to save five city libraries.

They will make their case at two meetings over the next week, and will ask council leaders to halt plans that could see the Cobbett Road, Burgess Road, Thornhill, Weston and Millbrook libraries close.

And some have suggested that axeing a third of councillors could find the £268,000 a year the council would save by not running the libraries.

Labour council bosses say they are not looking to close libraries, and want community groups to take over the running of the five in question.

But council officers have already admitted that if groups don’t come forward, the libraries could close.

The news on the libraries was announced at the same time as the council unveiled plans to axe another 137 jobs and raise council tax by 1.99 per cent for 2015/16.

When added to other plans announced earlier this year, the cash-strapped council could see 300 jobs axed next year alone in a bid to plug a £31m budget black hole.

As reported yesterday, Hampshire TV wildlife expert Chris Packham has joined the battle to save the libraries.

And campaigners will address senior Labour councillors at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee later today and the full council meeting next Wednesday.

Library user Calvin Smith says the council should get rid of a third of its councillors – something which is being discussed at Wednesday’s meeting – to find the necessary funds.

He said: “We are disappointed, because this is a Labour administration which could be cutting libraries in low-income areas such as Millbrook and Thornhill, the places that really need libraries. The money they want to save is peanuts for the social return – if they cut a third of councillors then they would be able to keep all the libraries open.”

Steve Plumeridge, part of the group which successfully fought against the potential closure of Millbrook library under the previous Conservative administration in 2011, said: “There are young people who don’t have computers and the only places they can use them are libraries.

“It’s the people’s library, so let’s get the people out to fight for it.”