Volunteers have come to the rescue of libraries in Stoneleigh and Ewell after a council “run them yourselves or close” ultimatum.

Ewell Court Library and Stoneleigh Library held a joint meeting at Ewell Court on March 24 in which more than 30 volunteers offered their services to help save the much-loved facilities.

Surrey County Council's Conservative ruling group has already voted to close 11 libraries across the region if communities fail to take up the option of running them.

After the meeting, Stoneleigh library user Karen Nicholson said: “This isn’t an ideal situation but it is great that the community is getting together to support the library.

“I am really shocked by the council’s decision and think it is ridiculous that they want to close both the Ewell and Stoneleigh libraries.

“People rely heavily on these resources so it is vital that we find some way of keeping them going.”

Councillors Jan Mason and Eber Kington chaired the meeting alongside Rose Wilson of the Surrey County Council library service - who assured concerned residents that the council would continue to finance the running costs of the buildings and the buying of books.

Afterwards, Coun Kington said: “It was a very good meeting - everyone came with some very positive questions.

“The overriding feeling was that the library will not close.

“Most people however were very unhappy at the prospect of sacking paid employees – it’s a very sad time.”

There was a question and answer session in which many residents expressed their disappointment at the council’s proposals and doubts about the role of volunteers.

The plans, which have a projected saving of £1m a year, will give libraries six months to organise volunteers or face closure.

A second special meeting will be held on Tuesday April 5 at 7.30pm at Stoneleigh Baptist Church.