Library campaigners hold peaceful protest

Coppull Library

Coppull Library

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Campaigners fighting to save their village library from closure amid funding cuts are organising a sit-in.

And they will be supported by well-known faces, including comedian Dave Spikey.

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 there are fears that Coppull Library could close.

So people living nearby have launched a campaign to keep the library.

Organiser Joanne Bithell, of Dickens Road, Coppull, said: “It’s not just about borrowing books - if that was the case, mobile libraries would have been set up years ago.

“It will be everybody going down en masse to show their support in a peaceful way with readings and a few well-known faces to boost it.”

Joanne Bithell

“It’s about community. Coppull Library is the gateway into the Coppull community and it’s the hub of Coppull. Everybody goes there.”

A sit-in is being held at the library on Saturday as a peaceful protest.

Readings will be given by Whittle-le-Woods-based funnyman Dave Spikey, Chorley’s MP Lindsay Hoyle and former Emmerdale actor Kay Purcell, who played Cynthia Daggert.

Authors planning to attend include Dan Worsley, Dom Conlon and Victoria Trundle.

There will be readings of poems and stories and people are being encouraged to dress as their favourite characters.

The sit-in will be held from 10am to 1pm.

Joanne said: “It will be everybody going down en masse to show their support in a peaceful way with readings and a few well-known faces to boost it.”

Joanne said she was “absolutely overwhelmed” by support for the campaign so far.

Among those sending messages have been author Keri Beevis and the PA for bestselling author Joanna Trollope.

The campaigners are encouraging people to have their say in a consultation being run by Lancashire County Council ahead of its budget being set.

County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for cultural services, said: “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.

“We are running two consultation periods so that we can seek the views of Lancashire residents as widely as possible.

“The first, lasting four weeks, started on January 4.

“This will be followed by a more in-depth consultation, which will last 12 weeks, after we’ve collated the results of the initial consultation.

“This should enable us to understand better how the remaining Lancashire libraries should be designed.”

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