HUNDREDS of campaigners joined protests across Essex as part of a countywide day of action against their precious libraries being run by volunteers in the future.

The Manningtree Save Our Library campaigners also joined in with the action day by holding an event at Manningtree Methodist Church, in South Street, between 10am to 2pm last Saturday.

Poet and author Kate Worsley opened the event, called Solemates, with a reading from her novel, She Rises.

She was supported by a teenage sea shanty crew who sang to lift people’s spirits.

Those who went along were entertained by poets from Poetry Plus, readers from the Manningtree Library Writer’s group and the members of the Manifest Theatre, and at lunchtime there were craft activities and stories for younger readers to enjoy.

Alongside a picture exhibition, a treasure hunt also took place, while people were entertained by live music and a collection was made for WWF Australia.

Holly Turner, from Save Our Libraries, said the campaign continues at full strength.

She added: “The event was another wonderful occasion of our community coming together to celebrate the library we love, and its professional staff.

“We shared information and the petition giving information around why our libraries remain at threat of the axe by Essex County Council.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Essex Libraries are safe.

“We’re keeping all libraries open, investing in them and responding to the diverse ways people now access reading material for information and pleasure.

“We’ll be investing more than £3 million to modernise libraries over the next five years, and will be upgrading our library management system, providing a more modern and customer-friendly library experience and making it easier for customers to access their library 24/7.

“We will also be investing in and refurbishing some of our libraries.

“We are already spending £1.1 million more this year on running them, including spending £130,000 more on new book stocks.

“We’ve upgraded public computers in all 74 libraries.

“Rather than campaigning against a threat that doesn’t exist, we encourage everybody who loves libraries to use them.”