NEARLY 1,000 people showed support for their borrowing 7,539 books!

The Hockley Library Raid was hailed as a huge success, with about 900 people turning out to empty the Southend Road venue’s shelves.

Around 900 local residents emptied the shelves at the raid, with 7,539 books being borrowed in total

Megan Hemmings and Carla Vaughan attended the raid in a bid to garner support for their petition to keep Hockley Library as a fully-funded service with full digital access and funded staff.

The raid took place on Saturday and participants were encouraged to max-out the borrowing allowance of 14 books.

Mrs Hemmings said: “There was a buzzing atmosphere, with massive queues out the door.

“I have to say I was really pleased but I definitely wasn’t surprised because of the support the library has had.

“Everyone said how important the library was to them, the older people who came even said it was a lifeline to them and that they had been coming with their families for generations.

“All of them said how the library was a community hub and it was really nice to see how community support pulled us all together.

“We hope the raid will show councillors that they need to listen to the community and how important this is to them.

“You often hear councils talk about reducing isolation and tackling inequalities but surely this is a move in the wrong direction.

“The longer term impacts could end up being a lot more expensive with increased social isolation and even greater demand for health and social care services.

“Everybody felt proud to be a part of it and a part of Hockley. Thank you to everyone who came and to those who helped out.”

About 4,000 people have already signed the petition, which is available online and in paper copy.

The future for the library is unclear, with Essex County Council proposing Hockley Library as a Tier 3 library.

That means it could potentially be left to be run by volunteers from the community if the authority pushes ahead with the controversial plans.

To join the campaign, please contact 07834453470 and visit the Facebook page ‘Hockley and Hawkwell people’ for more information.