PLANS for the future of libraries across Essex have been revealed two years after a council ditched controversial plans to axe some sites.

Essex County Council has unveiled its draft vision for libraries for the next four years.

It has also committed to keeping all 74 libraries open and invest in training for staff.

The council caused a huge reaction three years ago in November 2018 when it was announced there were plans to close 25 out of 74 libraries and remove support for a further 18.

The backlash was strong and authors David Walliams and Dame Jacqueline Wilson helped fight the proposals.

Pressure on the council built and it ditched the controversial proposals in 2019 and promised to rethink the future plans.

The new plan, which was published on Friday, sets out the steps for the next four years.

It includes supporting children to be school ready and helping adults to improve their literacy.

The council says it will keep stock and resources up to date and appealing and offer content in a range of mediums.

There will be improvements to buildings, steps taken to reduce the library services’ carbon footprint and look at mobile libraries.

Louise McKinlay, who is responsible for libraries, said: “We want to give our residents a library service that everyone can be proud of and one that will enhance lives and help communities to thrive. The draft library plan sets out how we aim to do this.

“The pandemic has made us see things differently, it’s shown us how flexible our libraries can be but has also shown us there is a wealth of opportunity for the service and our library buildings.

“We don’t want to just rebuild to where we were before the pandemic, we want to go further and create a service that is modern, vibrant and sustainable, with improved access, better facilities and more opportunities for local people.

“This is everyone’s opportunity to help mould what libraries in Essex will look like in the future.”

People can give their views online, in person at an engagement events or via 0345 603 7633.

The draft plan and survey can be found at

Feedback can be submitted until 1pm on January 21.