Community leaders have vowed to help fight for the future of village libraries threatened with closure.

County Hall has announced major plans to reshape the library set up in Essex, with the building in Swan Street, Sible Hedingham, one of 25 listed for closure.

Under the proposals, Earls Colne library will need to be run entirely by volunteers if it is to remain open. Essex County Council would continue to help with the running of the service but would not provide funding for staff.

The service in Halstead is also facing changes, with the library's opening hours likely to be reduced. Bigger libraries in Braintree, Witham, Colchester and Clacton would be retained and rebranded as 'hubs'.

The proposals will be subject to a 12-week public consultation starting later this month, however both Sible Hedingham and Earls Colne Parish Council's have already spoken of their disappointment at the plans.

Sible Hedingham Parish Council has even confirmed it would support a campaign to keep the library in the village open.

Chairman Ron Volkwyn said: "I was shocked when I found out but we haven't had anything official yet to confirm it. At the end of the day we don't want it to close.

"It would be a major blow to the village, especially for the elderly users who would have to go all the way to Halstead which would be their nearest one.

"I know volunteers help to run it at the moment so I would like to think there will be enough support from the public to keep it open.

"The library is an important part of the village, it has been there for as long as I can remember. The parish council will be following this up to see what we can do to save it."

Earls Colne Parish Council chairman John Bendall said the matter had not been discussed among councillors.

However, he admitted it was likely the authority would intervene and help fight for the future of Earls Colne library if asked.

He added: "I don't wish to speak for the parish council but I imagine there will be an element of members wanting to help save the library from closure.

"I was pleased to see we weren't on the immediate closure list but it would be a big loss to the community if we were to lose ours.

"It has a lot of different services like the internet access which is useful for people.

"I hope county hall will discuss this with communities and will listen to what they have to say."

The proposed changes have been out forward by county hall due to a decline in user numbers. It is estimated £2 million could be saved if the proposals are rolled out.