Essex

Essex pupils hug library in World Book Day protest

Pupils outside Galleywood Library Image copyright Kirstie Orton
Image caption Pupils from St Michael's Junior School formed a ring around the library

Children have "hugged" their village library in protest against its earmarked closure.

Pupils from St Michael's Junior School in Galleywood, near Chelmsford, formed a ring and sang songs around Galleywood Library.

It is one of 25 libraries set for closure in Essex by 2024 under plans laid out by Essex County Council.

It comes after Brentwood Borough Council designated Shenfield Library an asset of community value.

This means should the owner wish to sell it, there will be a six-month period in which community groups can bid for it.

Image copyright Kirstie Orton
Image caption The protest coincided with World Book Day

Of the county's 74 libraries, a further 19 are proposed to be run by the community.

St Michael's head teacher Maria Rumsey said 240 children had walked to the library on World Book Day to show they did not want to lose the facility.

She said: "Ultimately we hope that it will reverse the decision, whether it has any real impact we won't know for many months but we are hoping that they will realise that as a community we value our library."

English leader Kirstie Orton said: "The children feel very strongly that they do not want our library to close.

"It is a hub where young and old can share a common interest and can interact safely. The children love the library; this was evident in their passionate protest this morning."

Essex County Council has said the proposals are about ensuring libraries are fit for purpose and offer "value for money".

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