Members of a group opposed to the possible closure of Brightlingsea library and others in Essex will be marching from Manningtree to Brightlingsea on Saturday, August 8.
The march - organised by Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) – aims to arrive in Brightlingsea at around 4pm and is one of several taking place around the county to protest about Essex County Council's proposals to close libraries – including Brightlingsea's – or turn some into volunteer or community-run organisations with little or no financial support and in buildings other than the existing libraries.
Last year, the county council backed down on its closure plans following strong public opposition and committed to keeping all the county's libraries open for five years. The council said in a statement that part of that commitment involved proposals to "work with and support community groups or other partners to set up community run libraries, with the aim of ensuring a library service is retained in every current location."
Following the council's launch of its Essex Future Library Services Strategy 2019-2024, Brightlingsea Community Association initially expressed an interest in running the town's library, but later withdrew after an approach from SOLE.
A SOLE spokesperson told Brightlingsea Info: "What Essex County Council is looking to do now is wash their hands of libraries, and ask voluntary groups to house and run them. We don't believe this is sustainable, and is another way of achieving their original closure plans by the back door. Volunteers do a great job, but we believe we need dedicated library buildings and professional library staff."
• Brightlingsea Library has revised opening hours at present.
Monday - closed
Tuesday - 2-5pm
Wednesday 10am- 1pm and 2-5pm
Thursday - 10am - 1pm
Friday - 2-5pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
There will be a member of staff on the door to greet users with a drop box for book returns outside the library door. Library users will be asked to use hand sanitiser, and to fill in a test and trace form. There may be a short wait as only a few customers are allowed into the library at a time so that there is plenty of space for browsing. Books can be checked out on self-service machines.