LIBRARY campaigners across Essex will be hosting a day of action to save library staff.

Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) will be staging events in Colchester and Manningtree on Saturday, January 25.

The events will be part of a countywide Save our Librarians - No Closures By Stealth day of action.

The Colchester SOLE group will gather outside Colchester Library in Trinity Square at 11am.

In Manningtree, an event, called SOLE mates, will take place with an exhibition of photos from previous campaigning activities. It will be held at Manningtree Methodist Church in South Street at 10am.

A SOLE spokesman said: “People power has achieved so much last year in preventing the immediate closure of a third of Essex’s libraries.

“However, a closure plan by stealth remains, as proposals to sell off library buildings, get rid of paid staff, and have volunteers house and run libraries is unsustainable.

“So campaigners are hosting events to further raise awareness that the campaign still has much to do in 2020 to keep Essex libraries safe.”

Back in 2018, Essex County Council controversially announced plans to shut down 25 of the county’s 74 libraries, while also casting doubt over the future of 19 others.

The announcement prompted a staggering response from bookworms and celebrities alike.

Eventually the council made a dramatic U-turn and announced there would no closures in the next five years, but some libraries would need to be run by community volunteers.

Since then SOLE campaigners have been raising awareness of the dangers of axing paid library staff.

The Save Manningtree Library campaign was instrumental in organising several events throughout the year which highlighted locals’ love for their library.

So much so Manningtree Town Council decided to recognise the campaign group’s remarkable efforts by honouring members with the Community Engagement Award.

The county council is putting together a more detailed five-year plan for libraries.

The council said: “We will start by engaging with those communities that have so far expressed interest in setting up community-run libraries.

“We also hope to start improving council-run libraries before April.”