Ipswich: Protesters step up the fight to save much-loved library

ipswich: The fight to save a popular town library was stepped up at the weekend as protesters gathered to vent their feelings.

Dozens of people held a protest outside Rosehill Library in Tomline Road on Saturday morning and got scores of passers-by to sign a petition against the venue’s closure. Ipswich MP Ben Gummer also attended to show his support.

The library is one of the 29 branches across Suffolk that the county council has threatened to close as part of sweeping cutbacks.

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.

Abigail Barker, of Foxhall Road, who helped organise the protest, said: “This was the second protest held at the library and it went really well.

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“We’re trying to keep the pressure on really and show the council that they’ve been naive to consider closing such a cherished facility.

“They have not thought this through and considered libraries to be soft targets. But this protest shows that’s definitely not the case.

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“The community group option may save some libraries, but not them all. We would much rather see the council change their plans and fund them.”

A petition against the 29 proposed closures has already gathered more than 4,000 signatures, which protesters hope will be enough to force a change of plan.

Ms Barker added: “A consultation period is being held by the council until April 30 so this is the last chance to act.

“We’re also hoping to organise a march through Ipswich in the future and hopefully this and the petition can force a re-think.”

Mr Gummer added: “I’m an author myself and libraries have been very important me so I can fully understand the strength of feeling.

“I’m going to start having serious discussions with groups that have been formed to save the libraries to see what I can do to help them.”

n Why do you want to save libraries ? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail evening starletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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