Eye stages Valentine’s library protest

Dozens of Valentine's protest cards were posted to Suffolk County Council yesterday by campaigners fighting to save their community library.

Protesters including schoolchildren, parents, and pensioners gathered outside Eye Library to show their love for the town centre building, which is at risk because of council cutbacks.

The local authority has begun a three-month consultation on proposals to transfer the running of 29 of the county's 44 libraries to local councils, businesses, community and voluntary groups in a bid to slash Suffolk's library budget by 30pc.

Protesters from Eye's Love Our Library (LOL) group yesterday signed cards and a petition, and spoke of their anger at the plans. They also urged the county council to think again.

Felix Williams, deputy mayor, said Eye Town Council did not have the funds to take on the library by itself, which could take up 40pc of the town's budget. However, he added that he was 'hopeful' a solution could be found in the next two months and one of the options was to move the library and merge it with other services.

'We are being clobbered left, right and centre, and unfairly in Eye. Being Valentine's Day, we want to demonstrate how much we love our library and we want to encourage the county council to come up with alternative plans. There is strong feeling, particularly about the library, and I am hoping we can direct some of that energy to other services under threat such as youth services and our care home,' he said.

Suffolk County Council says that Eye Library costs �70,000 a year to run and receives 27,317 visits a year at a cost of �2.56 a visit. People have until the end of April to comment on the libraries consultation.