ESSEX County Council’s proposal to close 25 libraries was something akin to lighting the blue touch paper and standing well back.

But did it, in its wildest dreams, expect to create such a furore?

If the plans had gone ahead, 25 would have closed and 19 of the remaining 49 libraries would be staffed and run by community groups.

But at that moment the battle to save libraries began.

There have been protests, petitions and book raids and as thousands fought for the future of our libraries, one group of people stood out from the crowd.

Dozens of young people desperate to keep their community’s library organised marches and designed banners.

Among them was 11-year-old Josefine Bäckman Juliff.

The Hamilton Primary School pupil made it her mission to spread the word about the importance of the service.

And Josefine has been instrumental in giving young people a voice in the discussions.

She was one of four people who organised the Young People’s march in Colchester and she attended public meetings, stood outside libraries, made videos and did interviews on the radio.

And Josefine, who starts secondary school at Paxman Academy in September, also went out of her comfort zone to give an impassioned speech to more than 600 people.

Proud mum Pia said: “At the big carnival march in Chelmsford she did a speech, her first ever, in front of 650 people.

“Someone filmed it and put on twitter, it has now been viewed more than 12,700 times.

“She’s been sitting outside Prettygate and Stanway libraries with other SOLE members to inform the public about the planned closure of the libraries.

“She attended the stall at the Food and Drink Festival where she was up on stage at the beer tent to do another speech.

“She been doing small videos. The first one was to get people to the the young people’s march.”

And Josefine didn’t stop there decorating a window at her home with information on how to save the libraries and giving out leaflets.

She also wore the same dress - nicknamed her library dress - to all the events she attended.

This week campaigners celebrated as County Hall announced it would not be closing any libraries.

It came after 21,000 responded to its consultation and 50 petitions were submitted.

Josefine, who was born in Sweden, has welcomed the news but has called for more investment.

With a wisdom beyond her years she said: “ I am happy but I won’t believe it until I see it.

“I’m hoping that they will start investing in them instead.

“Libraries are so important, schools have libraries and if they are not important then schools wouldn’t have them.

“Libraries are for everyone, young, old, poor, rich. Sometimes things cost, but it is an investment and they should invest in us, the young people as we will one day run this country. For us to be well educated we need our libraries.”

Under the council’s plans some libraries may end up being run by volunteer groups. But Josefine said: “For a library to be successful, there needs to be well trained staff.

“I heard the county council wants some libraries to be run my volunteers. That will never work as people are too busy with their lives and when I grow up I will be busy working to pay bills.

“For me it’s so important to hold a book, not read a book on the computer or phone.

“I have been campaigning for the libraries because I feel they are so important.

“My mother told me that I have a voice and I have to use it myself if I want to change something.”