Campaign launched against closures


A LOCAL campaigner has collected nearly 1000 signatures at a petition against library closures across the county.

Campaigners took to the streets of Chelmsford city centre over the weekend and collected nearly a thousand signatures against library closures in just a few hours.
Launch follows controversial ‘stop signing petitions’ comment from leading councillor.


A new county-wide petition has been launched by SOLE following controversial comments by the Essex county councillor with responsibility for libraries Sue Barker, who has demanded that Essex residents ‘stop signing petitions’.

“Who on earth does Councillor Barker think she is?” asked SOLE facilitator Andy Abbott. ‘And where on earth does she think she is living? Some sort of one party state? Signing petitions is very much part of a democratic society.

Councillor Barker is showing an arrogant contempt for democracy.

The only appropriate response was to uphold democratic values and get out onto the streets with a petition. And the overwhelming response to the petition shows just how much libraries mean to people locally”

“Councillor Barker also continues to mislead with figures regarding library usage” continued Mr Abbott.

“Basing a closure plan on book withdrawals is wrong, because libraries are used for so much more than that. Not only that but Essex County Council have cut the hours libraries are open. If a shop cut its opening hours the shop would expect to see its number of customers down. Essex County Council has set up our libraries to fail.

“Yet in stark contrast Thurrock’s unitary authority has just announced an investment plan in all of its libraries to keep them all open and used. It shows there is another way. Essex is being embarrassed by its much smaller neighbour.”

The petition, addressed to Essex County Council, reads: “We the undersigned oppose the gutting of libraries in Essex, an act of cultural vandalism. All libraries in the county must remain open and fully staffed with paid librarians.”

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