A library campaign group has condemned an information pack published by Essex County Council for those planning to bid a take their community library.

Save Our Essex Libraries (S.O.L.E) have also criticised the timing of the pack's release, as the information could influence Essex residents vote in the upcoming General Election.

“Many people are otherwise distracted by the election right now', said a SOLE spokesperson. 'We have to wonder if the timing is a little underhand?

According to S.O.L.E pack is supposedly based on a vision for the “future vitality of libraries” however, campaigners fighting the council’s proposal for community-lead libraries.

It was announced earlier this year that Essex libraries originally set to close, including Chigwell and Theydon Bois, can apply to independently run their library through volunteers.

“These charity shop libraries will not work,” continued the S.O.L.E spokesperson. “Libraries need dedicated library buildings and paid and trained staff.

“The idea that libraries can instead be entirely run and staffed by volunteers, perhaps from inside a pub as suggested by one councillor, is a closure plan by stealth.

“Even the County Council's figures do not add up. We can see that the County Council's grant of only £18,000 spread over three years is derisory.'

'Any group or individual continuing with a takeover will be collaborating in the closure of their local library, and we call on anybody making such a bid to withdraw their takeover.”

To read the information pack, visit: https://libraries.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation/community-library-services