Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton library users stage silent protest

Silent protest over libraries
Image caption Protesters wore black and carried books during the walk through Southampton city centre

Dozens of people have walked through Southampton in silence, holding books, in a protest at library closure plans.

An estimated 150 supporters of the five libraries earmarked for closure by Southampton City Council walked from Bargate to the Civic Centre.

When they reached the Civic Centre they sat on the steps and read library books as councillors arrived for a full council meeting at 14:00 GMT.

The council is due to make a final decision on the closures in July.

Image caption The march ended at Southampton Civic Centre

Under the plans Bitterne Library, Central Library, Portswood Library, Woolston Library, Shirley Library and Lordshill Library would remain.

Burgess Road, Cobbett Road, Millbrook, Thornhill and Weston libraries would no longer be managed by the council, although it says there is a possibility volunteers could run them.

The mobile library service would also be closed.

Pat Morton, who used to work at Cobbett Road Library, said: "I feel the library is very important to the community there.

"There are five schools in the vicinity and it's so important for the children.

"It's an asset that will be lost if we are not careful."

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