LIBRARY users are to stage a 150-strong protest against plans to stop funding for their 76-year-old branch.
They will protest against Oxfordshire County Council’s decision outside the library in Bury Knowle Park, Headington, Oxford, from 11am to noon on Saturday.
The council last month ann-ounced it will stop funding 20 of the county’s 43 libraries to save £4m. It has to save £155m over four years to meet the squeeze on public spending.
Nicholas Newman, 50, from Ash Grove, Headington, said: “This is a vital community resource for a lot of people.
“A lot of elderly people use it to socialise, talk to their friends and read the newspaper, and unemployed people use it to look for jobs. People haven’t got the necessary expertise to run libraries voluntarily.”
Mr Newman, who has set up a Save Headington Library blog, said: “Where are the next generation of engineers and scientists going to come from if we start closing libraries?”
His father, Dr Roland Newman, 83, began using the library as an evacuee from East London during the Second World War, and said refugee children often had nowhere else to go. Mr Newman, who has cataracts, now uses the library to hire audio books.
He said: “Bury Knowle was a dry refuge for many, many evacuees who would sit and read there because it was a nice warm place.
“I absolutely depend on this library to collect CDs and don’t know what I would do without it.”
The council is making £200,000 available for volunteers to run libraries.
Christine Trueman, 53, from Sandhills, a former teacher at Windmill Primary School, said: “This is not just a facility for academics it’s a facility for young people with children who can’t afford to buy books and can’t just hop on a bus to use the central library.
“The library is a lifesaver for some and if you take it away you are limiting the future ability of children to make a contribution to society.”
Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “If a decision was taken to cease funding certain libraries the council would work with the community to explore alternative ways of providing services.
“The proposals include extending opening hours at Oxford’s Central Library to seven days a week. Oxford Central Library is easily accessible by bus from Headington.”
firstname.lastname@example.org There is an online petition urging the council not to close libraries at mycouncil.oxfordshire.gov.uk