Residents of Wivenhoe are being urged to show support for their local libraries by taking part in a Book Raid.

The Book Raid aims to draw attention to local libraries in the wake of an Essex County Council consultation on the future of Colchester’s libraries. The organisers plan to take out their maximum book allowance of 14 items per person on the day, with the aim of clearing the shelves

The idea that libraries could be closed has been widely criticised by residents and some councillors, with suggestion that the consultation is a smokescreen for already planned closures.

Clare Allmond, founder of the Save Wivenhoe Library Facebook Group which the same group in which the idea of the Raid was born, believes that the closures are a result of unnecessary cuts to local services.

“I believe that austerity measures have gone too far and that libraries and librarians should be protected as an important community resource for all”, she said.

Libraries are so much more than just a lending house for books. When I was a child, I developed a lifelong love of reading and learning in my local library. Then when I moved to Wivenhoe and became a mum for the first time without friends and family around me, the library was a safe place for me to go and feel less lonely and isolated.

Social isolation is destructive and damaging to mental and physical health. Libraries are one of the only places left that anyone can come and use for free. They can actually end up saving us money on healthcare costs.”

Rosalind Scott, who started a petition to save Wivenhoe Library and whom also lives in Wivenhoe said:

“Libraries are well loved and valued by everyone I have spoken to. They have been deprived of funds and stocks run down and yet they still provide a gateway to learning and dreaming for our children and a quiet place to go for many older people.

“We cannot allow short-term financial savings to over-ride the enormous social service and community cohesion provided by our libraries.

“This RAID is to get everyone in again to their library and to draw attention to the threat and the consultation.”

Ms Scott also suggested that similar campaigns could be run at other libraries in a bid to show unity.

The Book Raid will take place on Saturday 15th December 2018 from 10:00-17:00 at Wivenhoe Library, 104 High St, CO7 9AB.

Image credit: Essex County Council // Google Maps

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