The so-called community libraries which Essex County Council are enthusiastic to set up (Council encourages community libraries campaign, Guardian, March 19) should NOT be called libraries.

Libraries are staffed by professional librarians and trained library staff. Volunteers mean well but cannot fulfil this role. Librarians are trained to do high-level research, which can open the door to knowledge and learning for many. Andrew Carnegie invested much of his wealth into enabling and encouraging access to all to these centres for learning, enjoyment and variety, staffed by real enablers.

Do these community volunteers realise they are making librarians redundant? The £3 million the council is investing in these community-run libraries in the package of support to organisations that wish to run library services should be spent on keeping libraries open, with professional staff, and replenishing the book stock, which has dropped by 27 per cent in the past 10 years. Otherwise, they cannot be called libraries, nor fulfil that role in the community.

What next? Are Essex schools to be run by volunteers?

Moira Jones

retired chartered librarian, Harlow (address supplied)

Catherine Sizer, retired chartered librarian