Protesters stage sit-in at Levenshulme Library

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Sit-in at Levenshulme ibrary
Image caption,
The protest began on Friday afternoon

About 40 protestors are staging a sit-in protest at a Manchester library over council plans to close it down.

The group attended an event at Levenshulme Library on Friday afternoon but refused to leave at closing time.

Manchester City Council has proposed to close the library and the local swimming baths and replace them with a new joint facility.

Protester Valerie O'Riordan said: "We want our library to stay open and we are getting very mixed messages."

She added: "The best case scenario is that the baths and library will be replaced with a like-for-like opening in 2015, but that gives us a two-year gap with no facilities.

"Worst case scenario is that it doesn't actually go ahead."

'Democratic process'

The group were still at the library at 20:00 GMT and it is believed they intend to remain overnight.

Vicky Rosin, deputy chief executive (neighbourhoods) for Manchester City Council, said: "There is a consultation going on about the library proposals as part of the democratic process. This is how people who want to have their say about the proposals can get their voices heard.

"This stunt is not the way."

She added: "Our proposal for Levenshulme Library involves creating a new library, which will share a premises with a brand new swimming pool.

"In the meantime, it is proposed that the library is temporarily replaced with a community book collection. We will also be seeking to ensure that community computer facilities are available."

The council is proposing to close swimming pools in Broadway, Levenshulme, Miles Platting and Withington - but it will build three new facilities - at Hough End, Levenshulme and Beswick - by 2015.

Five libraries - at Burnage, Fallowfield, Miles Platting, New Moston and Northenden - will be replaced with "outreach libraries or community book collections", while Levenshulme Library will be moved into the same building as the new swimming pool.

The proposals are being made as the council tries to save a further £80m from its budget by 2015

It has already had to save £170m between 2011 and 2013.

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