A TRADE union boss has accused County Hall bosses of "ripping the heart out of our communities" by threatening to close 25 libraries across Essex.

Yesterday, Essex County Council outlined the planned "reorganisation" of the service in a bid to save about £2 million-a-year.

The move also means 18 other libraries could be turned over to community volunteers, if anyone comes forward.

Tim Roberts, Unison eastern regional manager, said: “Essex County Council is threatening to rip the heart out of our communities.

“If the only thing libraries did was make knowledge available to all, then these closures would be an act of cultural vandalism – but the fact is they do so much more, from children’s story times to helping elderly and vulnerable people connect with the world around them.

“And we can’t run a high-quality and accountable library service on goodwill alone.

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"If we want our kids to fall in love with reading, we need properly trained, properly paid staff to guide them through the process in properly resourced libraries.

“Instead the council is telling our children that their futures don’t matter.”