CAMPAIGNERS are plotting to storm a library and hire so many items its shelves will be cleared in a “book raid”.

The protest at Wivenhoe Library could be one of a number across Essex amid anger over county council plans to close facilities or reduce their opening hours.

Wivenhoe Library is among 19 facing closure unless volunteers come forward to run them.

Rosalind Scott, one of the organisers, said: “We are calling it a raid but are making it clear we don’t want to cause any problems, we just want everyone to know about the plans and to get them into the library.

“I would love to encourage people to join, especially as we are saying this is what Wivenhoe is doing and it would benefit if people did this across Essex.”

The total number of items Essex library card holders can borrow at once is 14.

Mrs Scott said: “We could empty the shelves and really make it clear that’s how much we want our library.”

The raid will take place at 10am on Saturday, December 15.

Protestors plan to gather outside first with posters, picture books and even letters to the council, as well as details of how to respond to its official consultation.

There will also be a wishing tree for residents to put their ideas on, for how the High Street library could be better used.

Mrs Scott described it as a “celebration of the library”

A petition to save the library now has around 1,000 signatures. Organisers will be enlisting residents’ support for the raid by holding a stall at the Christmas fair at St Mary’s Church, Wivenhoe, which takes place today at 6pm.

The county council plans are part of a major shake up of the county’s 74 libraries which will save it £2 million.

Prettygate in Colchester is set to close under the proposals while Stanway, Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea, Manningtree, West Mersea, Tiptree, West Clacton and Walton are among those facing closure unless volunteers come forward.

The council says “traditional” library use has collapsed in the last ten years and book loans have reduced significantly.

It wants to move to a more online focused service.

A 12-week consultation into the plans runs until February 20.

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