People are being urged to help keep their library open by suggesting new uses and ideas for the public space.

The Open Book Project has been collecting community ideas in Loughton library on Tuesdays and Thursdays since January 22, and a fresh appeal is now being made for more members of the public to contribute.

The project aims to collect ideas about how the library space can be used in new and different ways, with suggestions so far including new reading groups and classes on topics like photography, local history or web design skills.

Other ideas have included an orchard for gardeners and enthusiasts to grow and swap plants in a public space, and a group for people to trade, mend and make alterations to clothes and furniture.

“We are designing your library for life”, said Open Book Project organiser Paul Probert.

“It is about asking people what they want to see happen and what they want do in Loughton Library.

“It is as simple as that.

“We already have a well loved library, and we want to know how we can make it better loved still.”

The Essex County Council-led initiative, which has so far collected around 50 ideas, is running in Loughton until March 19.

The project comes as part of the council’s attempt to buck the national trend and keep all 74 of its libraries open across the county.

324 libraries have closed nationwide since 2011, and a government report issued in December recommended a “complete reinvigoration of the library network” with every library fitted with wi-fi and further digitalisation of resources.

Members of the public with an interest in the Open Book Project are urged to get in touch by visiting Loughton Library on Tuesdays or Thursdays, emailing or following the project on twitter @loughtonlibrary.