Your recent article about the libraries consultation and in particular the effect it could have on libraries in Colchester, contained inaccurate claims and assumptions, which I would like to set the record straight on.

The consultation closed last week and we are now analysing all the responses, including those from the campaign group Save Our Libraries Essex.

No decisions have been made nor will be made until the results are reported to Cabinet in summer 2019.

However, if the proposals were to go ahead unchanged this would mean Colchester had one library for every 32,000 residents, not one for every 95,000 as the campaigners and your article claims.

Most importantly, let me be clear we have no plans to close Tier 3 libraries, of which there are four in Colchester.

Instead, we want to support communities to run them in their own way.

Our plan is to keep Tier 3 libraries open and allow time for communities to develop their plans.

If, in any Tier 3 location, we don’t reach agreement with communities by late 2019 to early 2020 we’ll consult again on the future of those libraries before making any decisions about them.

It is also important to note that before any decisions are made, we will be looking again at the population data and updating our needs assessment with the most up to date data available.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the consultation.

I have been encouraged by the overwhelming response, it has sparked a great deal of interest and debate, and I'm really pleased with some of the ideas coming through. Concerns have been raised too and these will all be considered before a final strategy is drawn up later this year.

I am also encouraged by the number of community groups that have come forward who are interested in running community managed library services.

Even though the consultation has closed, expressions of interest can still be submitted up until June

We want to create a library service with a wider appeal, which is more relevant to and a better fit with people's lives.

I hope that together, we can we can achieve this.

Susan Barker

County councillor responsible for libraries