Wales politics

Hundreds at Cardiff library cuts and closure protest

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Media captionJane Rance, 11, says libraries are a 'magical place' where people can 'dive into a book'

About 400 people have gathered in Cardiff to oppose council plans to cut funding for libraries.

Local writers joined the rally outside Central Library against the possible closure of seven libraries in the city.

People held placards and banners calling for them to be saved, while dozens held books in the air and read stories out loud in unison.

The council has said it needs to save £48.3m in 2015/16 and a final decision will be made on 26 February.

Dozens of people took to Twitter to show their support for the campaign, including Jessica Kelly, who tweeted: "I'm protesting Cardiff library cuts because libraries have always been a vital part of my life."

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Media captionFormer national poet of Wales Gwyneth Lewis backs campaigners protesting against planned library cuts

Last week it emerged Manic Street Preachers rock star James Dean Bradfield had written to ask the council to protect the central library which the band opened in 2009.

Meanwhile deputy culture minister Ken Skates has pledged government support for libraries in "challenging times".

Speaking ahead of National Libraries Day on Saturday, he said £1.7m had been committed over the last year to improve library premises and promoting their use as community "hubs" for a range of local services.

He welcomed a 5% rise in borrowers, and urged councils to "recognise the value of cultural facilities and services".

Image copyright Jamie Insole
Image caption Hundreds gathered at the demonstration on Saturday
Image caption Children also joined the protest
Image copyright @SMCoulombeau/Twitter
Image caption People held books in the air during the demonstration
Image caption One poster read 'A library card is the start of a lifelong adventure'
Image copyright @nspugh/Twitter
Image caption Campaigners held placards and banners urging 'Save our Libraries'
Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption The Manic Street Preachers at the official opening of Cardiff's central library in 2009

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