Hundreds of protesters joined a county-wide strike against the decision to have selected libraries be voluntary run.

The day of action on Saturday saw campaigners holding events from Hadleigh to Harlow, and from Stanway to Shenfield on Saturday, September 30.

A street party held outside Manningtree library arguably attracted the biggest crowd, while in Galleywood an exhibition of children's artwork was displayed as residents signed the petition.

“So called community libraries are a closure plan by stealth,” said Save Our Libraries Essex's (SOLE) Andy Abbott, who participated in a march for Broomfield Library.

“'Libraries will lose their librarians, their buildings, and volunteers will have to do everything. They will have to house the library, staff the library, and raise the funds to pay the bills and buy the books. This is entirely unsustainable and a closure plan by stealth.”

“SOLE is calling on groups like Broomfield Parish Council that have made bids - perhaps as a last resort when their local library faced imminent closure - to withdraw their takeover attempts.

“Or they will sadly be complicit in the running down and eventual closure of their local library. With Essex County Council U-turning and now saying no library will close for five years, we need to ensure they stick to their word.

“It is not the job of volunteers to house and run a library. It is Essex County Council's statutory duty.”

Essex County Council (ECC) had previously unveiled plans to potentially close 25 libraries across the county last year – 19 more would rely heavily on voluntary community involvement.

But the council has said that while its plans to shut branches were now shelved and the system that involved tiering libraries into four bands had also been scrapped.

Libraries falling into the tier three category faced an uncertain future but would continue if a community organisation or partner steps forward to run them.

Tier four libraries faced closure.

For more reports, and a list of all the events from across the county, visit: to