Hundreds join libraries protest march
PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 April 2011
IPSWICH: Hundreds of people from across Suffolk marched through the streets of Ipswich to protest over plans to close libraries in the county.
Around 200 people of all ages joined the protest on Saturday morning with youngsters dressed as characters from their favourite novels and others holding banners and signs.
The march began outside Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House building and ended at Giles Circus with protesters walking past Northgate Library along the way.
At the end of the march author Nicci Gerrard made a speech backing the protesters’ campaign and thanking them for their efforts.
The council is currently consulting on plans which could see a number of libraries close, unless community groups take them on themselves, while the ones that remain could see services reduced or taken over by a private company.
Abigail Barker, who helped to organise the protest, said: “We appreciate that cuts have to be made, but we feel that library services have been seen as an easy target.
“This was our chance to show Suffolk County Council that we think they are wrong.
“It was also a chance for us to celebrate the wonderful service currently provided by our county’s public library service, to show them they are supported by their community.”
John Ellison, from Stanton, joined the march to campaign against the closure of his nearest library in Ixworth.
He said: “The number of people who have turned up for this far exceeds what I was expecting.
“That shows how strong the strength of feeling against these cuts is and I hope the council gets the message.
“In Ixworth, people of all ages use the library.
“If it goes then part of the village’s heart will be ripped out.”
Steve Smedley, who was protesting against the closure of Leiston Library, added: “It’s a phenomenal turn out and I’m proud to be protesting.
“This is about what is happening across Suffolk as a whole – not just in Ipswich – and although it’s a peaceful protest the message behind it is very serious.
“I know the council are still consulting so hopefully this will make them realise that their cuts should be made elsewhere.”
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