Ipswich: Level of support for battle to save library speaks volumes!

IPSWICH: More than 100 people showed their love for Rosehill Library at a scheduled readathon in protest of its closure.

Attended by bookworms of all ages, the event at the weekend – organised by local resident Abby Barker as part of national Save Our Libraries Day – resulted in 52 new signatures to a supporting petition.

The read-in on Saturday happened prior to Suffolk County Council’s announcement about which of the area’s libraries will survive imminent cuts.

The authority says it cannot afford to continue supporting all 44 in the county and in ending funding to 29 it will make a saving of �2m over the next two years.

It has asked communities to come forward if they are able to take on the running of their libraries – but if deals cannot be reached, the threatened branches will close.

Ms Barker, 33, said her lifelong love of libraries as well as her fondness of the Tomline Road booklender prompted her to demonstrate against council plans.

“I have been going for as long as I can remember and they are brilliant places for a community,” she said.

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“I just wanted to do something. I thought it was important – even if no one turned up, I had to try and stop them closing this library.”

Dozens of people in the Rosehill area turned up for the event, where residents borrowed books and joined the facility to show what it means to the community.

Ms Barker said: “We had a newborn baby join the library and kids who have never been before borrowing their first books. We had people in their 80s make an effort to come down to help.

“It was a very reassuring sight and showed that people in the community care about their library.”

Ms Barker said she understood the council must make cuts but urged officials think about the people before they make severe cuts.

She appealed: “I would ask people from the council to come and talk to us. Don’t just sit in your offices looking at sheets of numbers.”

Busy protests also took place outside Leiston, Stradbroke and Bungay libraries as hundreds of campaigners turned up to support the cause.

Steve Smedley, who is running a campaign to save Leiston Library, said nearly 200 people had joined the protest.

“I was amazed by the turnout,” he said. “It is very clear the people of Leiston are very passionate about the service and keen that it should continue running.”

n What do you think about the proposed library cuts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk