The Save Manningtree Library Action Group is organising a Love Our Library event on September 28.

With hard work, enthusiasm and community support the group is planning a day which will be enjoyable, successful and will involve everyone.

It will be positive and fun but behind all this, is a very serious message.

The event is intended to show that local people care about and value not just their library, but library staff.

Essex County Council in its comments suggests the countywide passion for libraries should be channelled into planning and developing the new community libraries, which they propose to establish throughout Essex.

Examples across the country, however, show volunteer-run, community libraries have achieved limited success, have struggled to deliver an effective service to the public and are seldom sustainable or viable in the longer term.

Volunteers can do a great job in many areas, but the support of paid staff for their training and mentoring is essential.

Running a library and delivering sound library provision requires a well-trained professional staff, it is somewhat ambitious to expect volunteers to do the work of such people.

Essex County Council would seem to be hoping that in the future, most libraries will be community managed and run independently of local authority support.

They do, of course, have to meet the statutory requirement set out in the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, which states that: “It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof.”

In proposing a comprehensive and efficient service can be delivered by volunteers, Essex County Council is perhaps being a little optimistic.

The fight to keep Essex libraries open and fully staffed will continue, in a most civilised way of course, as people will find out if they join in with any of the events that are planned for that day in September.

Brenda Wells

Manningtree