Hundreds of protesters across the county turned out for a day of action against plans to run 25 libraries by volunteers.

Supporters of campaign group, Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE), saw almost 200 people take part in a march through the High Street on Saturday, January 25.

Meanwhile hundreds of signatures were collected at stalls outside Hadleigh and Harlow libraries, and campaigners leafleted in Shenfield Broadway.

Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill libraries were both among the third of libraries originally set to close down for good.

Protest were organised after Essex County Council announced last summer that all libraries originally set for closure would instead be voluntary run.

Essex County Council have argued that library attendance has decreased and is now working with communities on how to make the service better.

Campaigners have argued that the plans aren't sustainable and will eventually result in closures.

Epping Forest Guardian: Epping Forest Guardian:

Harlow residents young and old came to the town's library to show their support

Following the protest day, around two-thousand signatures were collected across Essex for the 'save our librarians - no closures by stealth' petition.

A SOLE spokesperson said: 'A SOLE campaigner submitted a freedom of information request last summer asking what groups were looking to take over library services, and received a reply way back on August 19, saying ECC would reveal this within three months.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Around 2,00 signatures were gathered on the day of action day of protest across Essex

“It will soon be six months yet still ECC refuses to let anybody know. At the very least people have the right to know who will be taking over their local library service. This secrecy makes a mockery of both the accountability of county council governance and democracy itself.”

They added: “People power achieved so much last year in preventing the immediate closure of a third of Essex's libraries.

“However, a closure plan by stealth remains, as proposals to sell off library buildings, get rid of paid staff, and have volunteers house and run libraries are unsustainable.

“So we continue to campaign and to protest to further raise awareness that we still have much to do in 2020 to keep Essex's libraries safe.”