Socialist Worker

1,000 people rally against library cuts in Chelmsford

by Janet Szpakowski
Issue No. 2641

Placards on the protest against library service cuts in Chelmsford

Placards on the protest against library service cuts in Chelmsford (Pic: Paul Topley)


Around 1,000 people joined a protest against library service cuts in Chelmsford, Essex, last Saturday.

The Tory-run council plans to axe 25 out of 74 libraries—a third of libraries in Essex.

And it wants a further 19 libraries run by “the community”—by volunteers who have the time and money to run the service and pay rent for the library.

The Unison union, which represents the library workers, supported the demonstration.

Andrew Coburn from Unison said, “A library without a librarian is just a room.

“A library is a crucial statutory service that fosters literacy, community, empowerment and democratic involvement”.

The rally heard speeches from education workers and students.

Labour councillors from Essex and local author Francis Wheen also backed the rally.

Shoppers waved in support as the march went through the town.

Since council bosses announced the plan last November, people have been holding meetings in towns and villages across Essex.

They have staged their own local protests outside libraries that are under threat.

Protests have included “book raids”—where people collectively take out as many books as possible during a particular day.

These campaigns were brought together last Saturday.


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