A new petition has launched online against what campaigners are calling a 'closure plan by stealth' for Essex libraries.

So far, 1,667 signatures (as of Wednesday, August 28), has been gathered by the Save Our Libraries Essex group (SOLE).

The campaigners plan to hold a county-wide day of action on Saturday, September 28 over Essex County Council’s plans to create community-run libraries.

A 'love our library' street party will be held in South Street, Manningtree (11am - 1pm) while marches will take place in Broomfield and Harlow.

Other events are expected to be organised, those confirmed to place include Colchester, Galleywood, Wivenhoe, Shenfield, Castle Point, and Tendring.

The statement explaining the reason why the online petition has been up, says: “Stop Essex County Council’s plans for so-called community libraries which would see so many of our public libraries lose their buildings, books and other stock, paid staff, computers and other IT equipment, access to inter library loans, the ELAN network, and ongoing financial support.

“This is a closure plan by stealth. ECC must commit to continue funding a professional library service in all communities.”

Back in July, the leader of Essex County Council, David Finch, publicly announced that no libraries would close in the next five years.

However, plans have libraries originally set for closure to be voluntary run in community buildings has continued to cause uproar with Essex residents.

The statement continues: “They have asked for groups to put in expressions of interest in running the libraries and have promised the miserly sum of £18,000 over 3 years to resource them.

“So dedicated library buildings will go, as will the store of books, computers, resources and trained staff.

“In will come well-meaning volunteers working from a shared venue, where there will be no computers and books will need to be packed away at the end of the session.

“Librarians presently employed by the council, will either be redeployed or lose their jobs.”

A SOLE campaigner explained why they were supporting the petition.

"Save our librarians - no closure plan by stealth,” they said. “Stop Essex County Council’s plans for so-called community libraries which would see so many of our public libraries lose their buildings, books and other stock, paid staff, computers and other IT equipment, access to inter library loans, the ELAN network, and ongoing financial support.

“This is a closure plan by stealth. ECC must commit to continue funding a professional library service in all communities."

To sign the petition, visit:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-librarians-no-closure-by-stealth?fbclid=IwAR2KMbFD1uFkGlOJyT9CdiEoGquN1Cr4-z2JypxA0sQd8sx1B8neU2I7fbQ