TWO of Basingstoke’s three libraries face the axe as the county council try and save almost £2 million from the library service by next year.

The number of libraries across the county could drop from 48 to 38 and the remaining ones could see a 15% reduction in their opening hours as part of restructure of the library service in Hampshire.

But county bosses said there is still a possibility for all Hampshire libraries to remain open but that would mean that there would be a 25% reduction in their opening hours.

In Basingstoke, Chineham and South Ham libraries, as well as Odiham library in Hart are at risk of closure, documents released today reveal.

Residents are now asked to have their say on the two proposed options or suggests new ways that would help Hampshire County Council save £1.76m from the library service by 2021.

Other libraries across the county such as Blackfield and Lyndhurst in the New Forest, Fair Oak, Elson in Gosport, Emsworth in Havant, Horndean in East Hampshire and Lee-on-the-Solent in Gosport are also at risk in a move that could see between 40 to 50 jobs put at risk.

Additionally, Kingsclere Community Library, Lowford Community Library, Milford-on-Sea Community Library and North Baddesley Community Library may be turned into independent community-managed libraries which means they will no longer be supported by the county council and will have to be run entirely by volunteers.

Cllr Sean Woodward, executive member for recreation and heritage at the county council said the authority is "absolutely committed to providing a high-quality library service".

The consultation will close on March 18 and the authority stressed that no decision will be made until all consultation responses have been fully analysed.

Documents have revealed that 300 people work full time across libraries in Hampshire.

There are also libraries in Tadley and Overton, as well as Basingstoke Discovery Centre, that are unaffected by the proposals.