CAMPAIGNERS are hoping to clear out Hockley Library of books to show its popularity and secure its future.

The “borrowers” are urging people to take part at the same time as it was revealed there are 200,000 overdue items across the county with £350,000 in fines.

Megan Hemmings, one of those organising the library “raid”, said: “This is a lovely way for the community to get together and celebrate our local library.

“We’re doing this because our library is a massive community space and we would be lost without it.

“So many have come forward in support of the library, it will particularly impact younger children and the over 65’s.

The library is classed as “tier three” mean the council has stated it could remain open with community support.

A consultation is taking place with Essex County Council considering closing libraries in Vange and Fryerns, Great Wakering and Hullbridge.

Hadleigh, South Benfleet and Hockley need community support to remain.

Among the overdue books across the county is a textbook taken out 25 years ago, although the fine is just £7.

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “We do contact customers by text, e-mail and letter to remind them about fines and when they come into the library.

“If they fail to settle we will stop library users from borrowing more books, however, we find some customers will not return.

A 12-week consultation into the future of Essex libraries is under way with the council saying it wanted an “online 24-7 service”.

If the proposals go ahead, 25 of its 74 libraries could close with volunteers running a further 18 branches.

But the council has insisted the shake-up of the service, which would save £2 million, is “not about saving money”.

The Hockley borrow is due to take place on January 12.