Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight library protestors in mass borrow

Hundreds of books flew off the shelves at an Isle of Wight library as part of a protest over closures.

The mass borrow was organised by campaigners trying to save nine out of 11 libraries under threat following government cuts to council budgets.

Library members entered Newport library armed with trolleys and bags to carry their full book allowance of 30.

The Conservative-run council said plans would save £633,000 by April 2012 and two libraries will be improved.

The protest began at 0900 GMT with demonstrators waving placards and banners outside.

It was based on a similar campaign in Stony Stratford, near Milton Keynes, where all 16,000 library books were borrowed earlier this month.

Trade impact

Five libraries on the Isle of Wight are due to close in March 2011 and the council wants community-run libraries to replace four others.

As part of plans, which are at the consultation stage, libraries in Newport and Ryde would be improved.

The library cuts are part of the Conservative-run council's plans to save £32m over the next four years.

Campaigner Sue Morgan said forcing people to travel to Newport and Ryde would have a devastating effect on local businesses, which would lose trade.

"Really, it's a death-knell for the local community," she said.

"It means that many, many people will be deprived of a good library and it's very expensive to get into Newport and Ryde."

David Pugh, Isle of Wight Council leader, said: "People are passionate about their local libraries and want to have access to those books.

"We as the Isle of Wight council will make these books available, our entire database, for the island and volunteers and many other people will be helping to keep these libraries going in many and hopefully new locations around the island."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites