Manningtree, often described as the smallest town in England has chosen to ignore its diminutive size, assert itself and stand tall; in March of this year it held the largest and possibly most successful of the Young People’s Marches for Libraries, across Essex.

Manningtree library serves a number of villages, residents from these villages have joined with local townsfolk to form a formidable body of protestors.

Some are children, from the very young to teenagers; they have attended events including protest marches, supported by their parents, the children carrying placards, drums and whistles but also their hopes and dreams for the future.

A future where libraries might continue to play a part in the education and empowerment of all.

These young people have shown they are passionate about books and about their library.

The elderly too, value the library and are concerned about its loss, fearing they will be unable to access libraries in Harwich or Colchester.

Placed in “tier three” by Essex County Council, which consider this library is no longer necessary, it faces an uncertain future.

At risk of being lost altogether within the next few years; the library building, its staff and internet connection, all gone, to be left with a mere 200 books.

The notion of any continued support from Essex County Council is unclear.

Many locals are hoping the ranking will be changed to “tier two”, which offers a little more security.

I have never actively protested about anything before, but believe the availability of a library is essential as part of a civilised society, not just for books but for the many other activities it can support.

I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with people in Manningtree and have been overwhelmed by the support for its library, which sits at the heart of the town.

In a time of austerity, continuing to cut essential services to the bone can endanger the structure that supports society,

Essex County Council might well consider how an effectively supported and well-run library could be used as a real asset to the town and surrounding villages.

I, like many others, am fighting for the future of libraries, while their closure may save money in the short term, the cost to our society of their loss is without price.

Brenda Wells