PETITIONS to save two libraries in Basingstoke from closure are gaining momentum after Hampshire County Council (HCC) announced plans to shut 10 libraries across the county.

As reported in the Gazette, both Chineham and South Ham libraries in Basingstoke, and Odiham, in Hart, are at risk of being closed down as part of the proposals, while all of the other 38 council-run libraries, including Basingstoke Discovery Centre, could see their opening hours cut.

The council is asking residents to respond to consultation plans to make savings of £1.76 million from the library service in Hampshire.

It has offered residents two possible options to consider – option one (which is the Library Services’ preferred option) would be to close up to 10 libraries and reduce the opening hours of the remaining 38 by 15 per cent; and option two would see all 48 council-run libraries remain open, but with reduced staff opening hours of an average of 25 per cent.

Since the proposals were announced, two petitions have been launched in an attempt to save Chineham and South Ham libraries.

Louise Skeats, who launched the petition to save Chineham Library, has so far secured more than 1,500 signatures.

She said: “Our libraries do more than simply loan books. They provide events for children, internet access for the elderly, book clubs and more.

They’re places for the whole community to come together and learn. “Libraries are a door into the world, we need to protect them for future generations.”

The petition to save South Ham Library, launched by Basingstoke Labour councillors, has more than 300 signatures.

It says: “Libraries are really important places and are the heartbeat of local communities used by young and old for a variety of activities. Hampshire County Council plans will decimate library services.”

The councillors described the plans as “unimaginative, short-sighted and further undermine community life”.

The petition calls on the county council to “rethink their closure plans” adding: “Libraries are more than just buildings, they are community hubs. They help educate and bring the joy of reading and learning to all. Essential services like public computers are vital to those who cannot afford them at home, a vital service in view of the Government’s push to access all essential services using the internet.”

HCC has arranged various drop-in sessions regarding the proposed closures, including at Chineham Library on Tuesday, February 4 between 2pm and 4pm, and at South Ham Library on Friday, February 7 between 2pm and 6pm.

The consultation is open until March 18, after which the executive member for recreation and heritage will make a decision in the summer.

The Gazette has launched a campaign to save our libraries from closure. You can help by responding to the consultation questionnaire here

To sign the petitions visit and