FURIOUS protestors will storm 60 miles across south Essex in a demonstration to protect the future of libraries.

The seven day march, which started at Manningtree Library last Saturday, is set to stop at libraries across Great Wakering, Hullbridge, Hockley and Rochford, before ending outside County Hall in Chelmsford on Saturday.

Save Our Libraries Essex is calling on Essex County Council to ditch plans to have volunteer-run libraries, claiming plans will only set them up to fail.

Despite council leaders reassuring that no library will close in the next five years, the group believe keeping libraries fully staffed and fully funded by Essex County Council could be the only way to keep them afloat.

A spokesman, said: “With volunteers running the libraries there won’t be trained librarians, there won’t be enough volunteers to keep them going- it simply won’t work.

"Then the council will throw their hands in the air and say oh well we tried so they at least look like they attempted to follow their statutory responsibilities.

“This plan is set up to fail, when so many people rely on libraries and it means so much to those that use it.

"We’re arguing that council bosses must continue to run them and that they are publicly funded.”

The group was launched in response to proposals to close 25 out of 74 Essex libraries, including Great Wakering and Hullbridge.

Another 19 were also at risk of closure, including Hockley and Hadleigh, providing they couldn’t be run by the community with support from the council.

But after 21,000 responses, Essex County Council made a u-turn.

A spokesperson, said: “Essex Libraries are safe and as outlined in our libraries strategy, we are keeping all libraries across the county open, while continuing to invest in the services on offer.

“Following the easing of Government Covid-19 restrictions, we are pleased to confirm that all Essex Libraries have now re-opened and library staff are welcoming customers back.

“Rather than campaigning against a threat that doesn’t exist, we encourage everybody who loves libraries to use and enjoy the fantastic services and initiatives on offer, such as the Summer Reading Challenge which is currently running.”

Protestors will leave Great Wakering and Hullbridge Library at 10.30am Saturday, and will stop at Hockley Library 11.30am.