CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save libraries from the axe have welcomed news none will close... but say they won’t be cracking open the bubbly yet.

Groups and residents across the county held protests, started petitions and carried out book raids in a bid to prevent the closures.

And the campaign also secured the backing of a host of familiar faces including David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Billy Bragg, Michael Rosen and David Baddiel.

Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) said: “From the outset, we have argued that every single library should stay open.

It is the people of Essex who deserve the credit for forcing this climbdown.

“However, we have also always insisted that opposing any move to volunteer or so-called community-run services is just as important as opposing all closures.

“Unfortunately, we are yet to receive any guarantees that our libraries will continue to be run by professional library staff.

“Nor indeed have we had any assurances that all our libraries will be able to retain their buildings, stock, IT resources, and access to the Essex County Council library network.

“Until we have such assurances we cannot count this as a victory. What this announcement does show, however, is that our campaigning has had a real effect.”

READ MORE: Libraries across Essex SAVED - County Hall reveals no libraries will close

Prettygate councillor Sue Lissimore, who resigned from her cabinet post in a bid to fight for her ward’s library, welcomed the news.

She said: “While I completely understanding the challenges it faces with new and emerging technologies such as e-books and on line music, it remains the only community building in the centre of Prettygate and is vital to us as residents.

“The consultation revealed how people have rallied behind their library and have a renewed energy for them to remain open.

“I will now be looking for investment in the building such as accessible toilets and baby changing facilities so we can use the building more, open it for longer and offer new experiences such as a repair cafe.”

Holly Tuner, who launched the Save Manningtree Library protest group, said she was waiting to see how the council’s decision will affect the running of Manningtree Library.

She said: “I won’t be popping the champagne at this stage.

At least there is some acknowledgement that their plans for library services were abysmal and not what communities want.

She added: “At the start of the campaign I was told waving placards would do nothing – well look how far we have come. “

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Natalie Platts said: “It’s the overwhelming strength of feeling against the Council’s ransacking of our culture and our communities that’s forced this climb-down.”

“But any celebrations will be brief – even if some community group can be found to take over, volunteer-run libraries just aren’t good enough.

“Anyone who thinks volunteers can reliably deliver all the services our highly skilled library staff provide has spent too long in the fiction section.

“Well done to the thousands of people across Essex who have made the Council think again, but we need to push on to secure the fully funded, fully staffed public libraries we need and deserve.”