A county councillor has issued a rallying cry to save a village library from closure.

Councillor Alan Dowden has urged volunteers to come forward to maintain the “vital service” provided by the North Baddesley library, after it was earmarked for closure.

The library, in Wills Avenue, is one of two in Hampshire that could be shut down in September, 2012, under proposed cuts to the service. Hampshire County Council plans would also see Stanmore library, in Winchester close, unless volunteers can be found to run it.

Mr Dowden, who represents the Baddesley ward, said: “We simply have to save this service, particularly for the older people and youngsters in the area.

“It’s so important that children have access to libraries. Parents in the current economic climate can’t always afford to go out and buy books, so this is a valuable and vital service.

“There are two schools in the area and it’s really important that these children continue to have access to a local library, otherwise they could end up falling behind in their education. That is a genuine concern of mine.”

He said he hoped that one of the village’s community groups could come forward to rescue the library.

The proposed closures of North Baddesley and Stanmore libraries form part of sweeping council cuts to the service, aimed at saving £450,000.

The controversial plans will see library opening hours slashed by 146 hours a week across the county, with 20 full-time posts also set to be axed.

HCC has already saved £750,000 by reducing the number of managers and cutting back the Mobile Library Service, but they still need to slash a further £450,000 from the library budget.

North Baddesley library is open three days a week and the county says it is significantly under-used, with just under 10 per cent of the population of the village registered with the library. Over the last six years, there has been a 30 per cent reduction in its use.

Steve Squibbs, of the union Unison, said. “It is an insult to those communities who have already paid for a service via their council tax to now be asked to offer their labour free of charge to run their libraries. The money that the Council will be saving is negligible – this represents an ideological attack on the very idea of libraries as a public service.

The proposals have met with dismay in the community.

Margaret Cawte, 69, Orchard Close, said: “My grandchildren use the library quite a lot. It's very handy when they are doing projects for school. It would be a loss not just to them but the elderly people that live here. Surely the council can find the money somewhere else?”

Teaching assistant Amanda Crooks, 41, Launcelin Close, teaching assistant, said: “We use the library about twice a week. If the community run it, there's no long term stability. The council should keep funding it and keep it the way it is.”

Louis Murphy, 7, from North Baddesley School, said: “Please save North Baddesley library. Reading is my favourite thing.”

A public consultation into the proposals will last until December 28, with a final decision expected in January 2012.