Campaigners protest at Gloucester library cuts

<p>Campaigners have criticised Gloucestershire County Council&rsquo;s plans to overhaul its library network, which will see some libraries turned into self-service facilities.<br /><br />Last week, council leader Mark Hawthorne announced that some communities would have to rely on volunteers to keep libraries open, <a href="http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Relying-volunteers-run-Glouc... target="_blank">This is Gloucestershire</a> reports.</p><p>Librarian Johanna Anderson, chairperson of the Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries, told the newspaper &quot;It just won&#39;t work. You only have to look at a similar library in Swindon which tried to do this and has now had to reduce its opening hours because it cannot get enough volunteers.&quot;</p><p>She added, &quot;On top of that, there is also a privacy issue. Somebody taking out a book on how to cope with divorce does not want Mrs Jones from down the road knowing.&quot;<br /><br />Hawthorne revealed that 11 libraries would become community-run services, another 11 would be pared down with reduced opening hours, while seven would become self-service facilities based in police stations or other community buildings.<br /><br />Only major libraries such as Cheltenham and Circencester will survive, while a new online service has been launched. <br /><br />Councillor Antonia Noble, cabinet minister with responsibility for libraries, said: &quot;Community-run libraries work. At the ones already up and running in Buckinghamshire, visitor numbers have increased, opening hours have been extended and there&#39;s actually a waiting list of volunteers.<br /><br />&quot;We&#39;ve had several groups come forward to say they are interested in our offer of taking on a library building or running a library service for their community.&quot;</p><p>The Friends group is to hold an extraordinary public meeting tomorrow [17th November] at Cheltenham Library from 7pm.<br /><br /> </p>