PROTESTERS will gather tomorrow to demonstrate against library closures.
Hands Off Sunderland Libraries plans to meet outside Southwick Library.
The library in Beaumont Street is one of nine earmarked for closure, after Sunderland City Council agreed to a recommendation to close Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Hendon, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green – in an effort to modernise services and save an estimated £850,000. The protest group has already clashed with the city council leader, Councillor Paul Watson, after it branded as undemocratic the controversial decision when it did not go to a vote at a full meeting of the authority last month.
And earlier in September campaigners held a demonstration outside the cabinet meeting where the decision was effectively made to close the sites.
Organiser Gary Duncan said: “The leaders of Sunderland Council have decided to take away our local library.
“This vital free service has belonged to the residents of Southwick since 1931 and its threatened closure is a despicable attack on the community.
“It doesn’t matter if you haven’t used the library before, it’s still yours and should be preserved for future generations.
“Once they close it down it will never come back.
“It must be defended. Please join the protest and save one of Southwick’s most treasured facilities.”
Speaking at the meeting last month Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, laid the blame with senior Tory minister Eric Pickles, current Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
He told members: “If we continue with the procedure we have in place, we will keep something.
“If we do not make changes, we could lose the lot.”
The demonstration will take place from 3.30pm.