Thousands say no to libraries ‘closure plan by stealth’

Hundreds joined protests across Essex in SOLE’s ‘save our librarians – no closure plan by stealth’ day of action yesterday on Saturday January 25.

In Chelmsford nearly two-hundred people joined a march through the High Street and a rally in Half Moon Square, where they heard from local political leaders, representatives of Save Broomfield Library and Save Galleywood Library campaigns.

Manningtree campaigners staged ‘SOUL Mates’ in the town’s Methodist Church and heard poetry readings and live music.

Hundreds of signatures were collected at stalls outside Hadleigh library, and campaigners leafleted in Shenfield Broadway.

Across Essex around two-thousand signatureswere collected for the ‘save our librarians – no closures by stealth’ petition.

A SOLE spokesperson said: “A SOLE campaigner submitted a freedom of information request* last summer asking what groups were looking to take over library services, and received a reply way back on August 19 saying ECC would reveal this within three months.

“It will soon be six months yet still ECC refuses to let anybody know. “At the very least people have the right to know who will be taking over their local library service. This secrecy makes a mockery of both the accountability of county council governance and democracy itself.’

“People power 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 are unsustainable.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]