Three libraries are at risk of closure due to lack of use.

The fate of Hensingham, Mirehouse and Kells libraries are to be decided by Cumbria county councillors on Tuesday.

If library services on the three Whitehaven estates end, people would have to use the main library in the town centre and outreach services could be provided for the affected communities.

Feedback from a public consultation shows there has been "significant interest in developing the sites" in other ways such as nursery provision, a community cafe and assistance and advice centres.

Members of the county's Copeland Local Committee will discuss the futures of all the libraries at Tuesday's meeting.

County councillor Graham Roberts, who is set to attend, said: "Libraries are terribly valuable services. I personally feel that libraries are incredibly vital to the whole community."

A council report says: "Following the public consultation in the future of the branch libraries at Hensingham, Mirehouse and Kells, the responses received have indicated that there is a very low use of the facilities and that maintaining library services from these sites does not offer the most effective use of resources.

"Currently each facility is open for six or nine hours per week with continued evidence of usage level declining year on year."

The report says book borrowing from Hensingham library fell from 5,745 in 2010/11 to 1,548 in 2016/2017. In Mirehouse it fell from 9,686 to 2,735 in the same time period and in Kells from 6,588 books down to 1,737.

Coun Jeanette Forster, for Whitehaven Town Council and Copeland Council, said if the decision was made to close Hensingham library, she would help in the fight to save it, adding: "It's been part of the community for a long time."

St Mary's School in Whitehaven used to take pupils to Kells library to use its services.

However, Anne Hillon, the school's business manager, said: "We have not used it for a long time as there hasn't been the librarians there. If there was librarians then we would use it. Most of the kids use the library out of school time."

The county council said there has been limited responses in the library consultations.

A report said: "Most respondents confirmed they did not solely use the branch facilities or that they only used the facility for attending a group event and could benefit from a service being offered from the main Whitehaven library and promoting increased access via outreach across the town."

If councillors agree to stop services, their decision would be passed on to the county's Corporate Director for agreement. Details would be given at the next local committee on outreach services.

The report says if the closure plans are agreed, the individual properties could be made available for sale or lease.

"The consultation identified significant interest for development of the sites to benefit the community in alternative ways including: nursery provision, community cafe, assistance and advice centres," it added.