Webb joins battle for Southend libraries

Webb joins battle for Southend libraries

Rights People's Alex Webb is among those battling to save libraries around Southend with a campaign against cutbacks.

SOS Leigh Library is fighting to save Leigh-on-Sea library from cuts by Southend Borough Council, which is planning to reduce its libraries from six to two, and focus spending on a central library called the Forum, which would be built with the University of Essex and South Essex College.

The council said the changes would save £378,000 over the next three years, 15% of the total annual libraries budget.

But campaigners argued that local libraries serve their communities better, allowing more people access to books.

Alex Webb, head of rights at Rights People, said: "If the branch libraries close, people will struggle to visit another one. Not having access to books when you are young is really detrimental­—we are losing a future generation of readers. It particularly hits those who can't afford books but who borrow regularly from libraries."

She added: "It is definitely a cause that people from the publishing industry should support."

A series of events are being held at Leigh-on-Sea library to protest the cuts, with a fancy dress party held on the weekend. A further event is planned for 25th May with children's authors attending for story sessions. A petition has also been launched.