CAMPAIGNERS wishing to save Hampshire libraries believe too much is being asked of volunteers.

With the proposed closure of five Southampton libraries, volunteers have been asked to step in and run the service with very little funding.

Despite the city council still being in talks with a number of voluntary groups regarding the planned community libraries, one group believes volunteers will not get the proper support needed to run the service efficiently.

Members of the Friends of Cobbett Road Library group believe volunteer groups in libraries are already and would not be able to keep to the high quality of service of professionals employed by the council.

Secretary of the group Rachel Hickman said: “It is just unfair that people who work for these services, paid or voluntary, feel backed into a corner and there is nothing we can do.

“The council is asking for volunteer groups to take over the running of these services with very little funding and it is something that we are completely unable to do.

“It is now down to the council to decide what they want to do with the service moving forward.”

The friends group has called for the secretary of state for culture, media and sport John Wittingdale to intervene, saying the council is breaching its duty to residents by not running the libraries.

However, another anti-cuts campaign group believes a voluntary library is better than no library, but agrees services will be stretched.

Sean Cannon, from the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, praised the work current volunteers are doing, but believes the council needs to do more in ways of support.

Members of the group will he holding a ‘sit-in’ at the Burgess Road library, on Wednesday, November 11, from 10am, to raise awareness of the impact the cuts will have on local communities.

“All the cuts have stemmed from the Government’s austerity agenda and now things are being forced through,” said Mr Cannon.

“By holding the sit in we hope to bring the community together to send a message to David Cameron and his Government that Southampton has suffered enough.

“We know the Burgess Road Action group is looking to take over the running of the library, and we do not want to conflict with them ,we just feel this is an important message which needs to be put across.”

The cuts to services in Cobbett Road, Millbrook, Thronhill, Weston and Burgess Road will save the council £286,000 a year, but say they are determined not to close any of the libraries.

A council spokesperson said they are still engaged with interested groups regarding community operation of certain libraries.