CAMPAIGNERS will protest about possible library closures as Southend’s new £27million central library opens.

Library users will join union members in calling for branch libraries in Southend to be kept fully-staffed when the new Forum Southend library opens in Elmer Square on Monday.

A cross-party group of councillors has recommended Southend Council hand over Westcliff, Southchurch and either Kent Elms or Leigh libraries to volunteers to run as “community libraries”.

The Forum, which will be shared by Essex Universityand South Essex College, is replacing the former Central Library in Victoria Avenue under the proposals, which also suggest opening a new branch library in Delaware Road, Shoebury, to replace Thorpedene and Friars libraries.

Members of Westborough Community Association and Southchurch Library Users’ Group are expected to join members of Unison, which represents library staff, in handing out leaflets, waving placards and collecting signatures for a petition calling for all libraries to be kept fully-staffed.