CAMPAIGNERS are inviting book lovers to a street party in a bid save their library from being run by volunteers.

Save Manningtree Library Action Group is holding the party as part of a county-wide action day over Essex County Council’s (ECC) plans to create community-run libraries on September 28.

The ‘Love our Library’ street party will be held in South Street, Manningtree, between 11am and 1pm.

Holly Turner, of Save Manningtree Library Action Group, said: “It seems ECC is hell-bent on its entirely unsustainable plan to run at least 60 per cent of our libraries, and perhaps more voluntarily and without paid, professional staff.”

The action day comes after more than 1,600 people signed a petition against plans for volunteers to run many of the county’s libraries.

The council’s proposal will see groups given a grant of £18,000 split across three years.

But Holly said: “With just £18,000 available per library across three years - then each library will have to fend for itself - this condemns at least 60 per cent of our libraries to closure by stealth.

“This is why we are urging mystery people who have submitted expressions of interest to run libraries across the county to make themselves known and withdraw these expressions with immediate effect.”

Holly said the street party promises to be a fun family event in celebration of Manningtree Library and its staff.

She added: “It is about the community coming together to send the message to Essex County Council we intend to keep the pressure up to stop a county council so committed to this act of cultural vandalism.”

For the street party, there will be readings, live music, food stalls, street theatre and tarot readings in the town.

An ECC spokesman said: “We are aware SOLE is planning some local events, but our view is that the passion for libraries we’ve seen across Essex’s communities would be at its most effective if channelled into the planning and development of new community libraries.”

“This work is already underway and will ensure that the service is able to thrive now and in the future.”