Keep our library open

Photo Neil Cross'Campaigners concerned that Coppull library could be among those closed by county council due to budget cuts holding a protest

Photo Neil Cross'Campaigners concerned that Coppull library could be among those closed by county council due to budget cuts holding a protest

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Hundreds of people took part in a peaceful protest to demand that a village library does not close.

Campaigners packed into Coppull Library on Saturday to hear readings by supporters including comedian Dave Spikey and Chorley’s MP Lindsay Hoyle.

There was standing room only as people spoke about why the library was important to them, completed consultation forms and read stories and poems.

Organiser Joanne Bithell said: “It was really good, it was a real success. We got over 250 signatures on the petition.

“It was really busy. At one point we thought we might have to start asking people to leave the building because it was so busy.”

The event was organised as part of a campaign to protect the Spendmore Lane library from closure.

Lancashire County Council plans to reduce the number of libraries from 74 to 34, saving £7m, as part of budget cuts.

The libraries involved have not yet been identified, but people in Coppull are determined to keep their library open.

Joanne said: “People were there to show their support. They were upset and dismayed at the thought of the library closing.

“It’s the same sense of feeling from everybody that the library shouldn’t close.”

The campaign has gained support from high-profile authors on social media, including former children’s laureate Michael Rosen.

Saturday’s event was attended by Whittle-le-Woods-based Dave Spikey, MP Lindsay Hoyle and actor Kay Purcell, who played Cynthia Daggert in Emmerdale.

Authors Dan Worsley, Dom Conlon and Victoria Trundle were also at the library.

Joanne said: “Lindsay Hoyle read The Gruffalo. Dave Spikey gave a talk about his favourite books, what he enjoys and gave a bit of a reading.

“Dan Worsley was really engaging with the children and everyone was having their picture taken with the character from his book.”

She said that after seeing the strength of feeling in support of Coppull Library, the campaigners were determined to continue their work.

“We are going to have a team meeting and we are going to discuss where we go from here,” she said.

“Obviously we are going to keep on with the petition and we are thinking of seeing if we can get other libraries involved as well.”

Lancashire County Council is currently holding a consultation before its budget is set.

County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “These are very difficult decisions that have definitely been made with a heavy heart.

“They are unfortunately necessary because of unprecedented financial pressures caused by cuts to funding by central government and rising demand for our services, particularly those that care for the most vulnerable, such as adult social care.

“We are being forced to bring in a raft of measures to tackle a funding gap of £262m which we need to save by 2020.

“Despite our financial situation, we are committed to continuing to provide 34 fully-staffed libraries.”