Susan Barker is under a false impression (‘Libraries boss defends decision to ban petitions’, Standard, December 14).

We, and many others, involved with petitions, are urging residents to respond to her consultation about library cuts AND sign petitions. Our petition concerns West Mersea but there are many more throughout the Essex.

Why? We in West Mersea say the consultative document is seriously flawed – the number of over-65s in Mersea are seriously understated, they use outdated Colchester Borough’s statistics, not Mersea Island’s.

The map of Essex with the location of libraries does not even show Mersea as an island. The consultation does not fully recognise we are a regional centre with so many from a very wide area using our facilities and shops. And we could go on.

But of great importance, a petition allows residents to object on the need for a cut at all. Many want to say that Essex County Council aim to save £2m is not proportionate to the damage that would be done.

The £2m saved put against the £340million in the county council’s reserves? The reserves taken from their latest published financial accounts. A very considerable sum for a reserve, and as the county has stated “much has been written about them in local and national media”.

Her Conservative colleagues on Colchester Borough Council supported a resolution calling on her to stop the consultation and closure plans. They are saying no more than us. Supporting petitions is residents’ way of voicing their opposition to the principle behind the consultation.

On the councillor’s claim that staff felt ‘uncomfortable’ to have petitions in libraries, no library staff I have discussed this with have ever said that to me. On the contrary, they have greatly welcomed support for a professionally-run library service.

John Akker

Seaview Avenue

West Mersea