RAIDERS took out as many library books as they possibly could to make a stand against proposed cuts to services.

Hundreds of people joined in with protest action at Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea libraries on Saturday and took out the maximum of 14 items allowed per ticket holder.

Their action came after Essex County Council announced it wanted to close the libraries unless volunteers are willing it run them.

Rosalind Scott, one of the Wivenhoe protest organisers, said: “It was really popular.

“There were hundreds of people and many did take out their 14 books so we ended up with some empty shelves, especially in the children’s area.”

Mrs Scott said many people also took the opportunity to get new library cards.

She added: “The book borrowing machines were not working and that meant there were long queues but it became like a big party and demonstrated we need our librarians.


“The librarians were also so friendly. They seemed to feel they were being supported.

“They were so cheerful throughout and were so helpful.”

Protesters also wrote down their wishes for the library on purple ribbons which will be sent to the council’s headquarters at County Hall, Chelmsford.

Mrs Scott continued: “We just wanted to make sure everybody knows the libraries are threatened with closure and that certainly worked and we made sure everybody knows about the council’s consultation as we want everyone to have their say.


“Now it has worked so well we will definitely be talking to communities around Colchester about doing the same thing.”

In Brightlingsea, a raid was held simultaneously after it was organised with just 48 hours’ notice and details were posted on Facebook.


Solma Ahmed, one of the organisers, said: “The library was very busy and we are planning to hold this every Saturday at 10am until February 20.

“This is a small library and important to the community. It offers a lifeline for many, many elderly residents in Brightlingsea.”

The council is proposing a shake-up of all of its 74 libraries, which will save it £2 million.

Some face total closure while others could be saved by volunteers or could run at reduced opening hours.

Petitions to save libraries in Wivenhoe, West Mersea and Prettygate now have collected thousands of signatures.

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

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

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