YOUNG people are ready with costumes and musical instruments to march in protest against library cuts and closures.

Manningtree and Colchester are hosting young people’s marches on Saturday in a bid to show how children will be impacted by Essex County Council’s plans to slash library services across the district.

There will also be protest marches in Coggeshall, Walton and Holland on Sea.

A spokesman for the Save Our Libraries Essex campaign group said the Manningtree event is thought to be the first protest march in what is England’s smallest town.

Emma Batrick, from the group, said: “We are uniting across Essex by putting on events to celebrate our libraries this weekend.

“With just over a month until the consultation results are expected to be revealed, we are stepping up our campaign to show how people feel about an act of cultural vandalism that will rip the heart out of local communities. Essex County Council will ignore the people of this county at their peril.”

A spokesman for the Manningtree event, said: “Young people weren’t provided the opportunity to share their views via the ECC consultation process on the future plan for libraries, so we are giving them the opportunity to make some noise.”

The event in Manningtree, billed as a “noisy protest” with campaigners also dressing as book characters, will meet at 2pm at the Methodist Church in South Street.

A placard-making workshop is running at the church from 1pm, Elsa and Belle “real life princesses” will join the march, which will have doughnuts and refreshments at the end provided by Scoffers and D’eaths bakery.

Books will also be handed to each child at the end and music will be played.

Elsewhere there will be a Love Your Library event outside Coggeshall Library from 11.30am; in Holland-on-Sea campaigners will be outside their library from 9am; and Walton’s protest will be in the High Street between 10am and midday.

Colchester’s Young People’s March for Libraries will start at the town’s library at 2.30pm and march through the town, with the youngsters joined by campaigners from Prettygate, Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea and West Mersea libraries.

n In last week’s Standard it was reported that children in the Manningtree march would be given Happy Meals.

The organisers have asked us to point out the children will get books and there will be refreshments at the end of the march, but not Happy Meals.