PEOPLE living near an under-threat library have said they would share it with a Costa or Starbucks if it meant it could stay open.

An online survey by Councillor Richard Udall revealed more than 80 per cent of the people he asked were willing to share St John’s library with a popular coffee chain – or preferably an independent coffee shop – if it stopped the county council from cutting staff, opening hours or closing completely.

The future of St John’s library is in doubt after it ranked low in an assessment of the county’s facilities by Worcestershire County Council and was said to be of little value for money.

Councillor Udall said: “I am not sure how you can quantify such a statement, the library is a community centre. It provides help, advice and support.

“It teaches children to read, it helps with adult literacy, it enables people to claim benefits through online computers. It’s a meeting place.

“Activities including my own councillor surgery take place in the library, chess clubs, slimming clubs, book clubs, film clubs and much more.

“It provides excellent value for money.”

Cllr Udall said the threat of closure has united the residents of St John’s and he has been inundated with messages saying the facility should not face cuts.

He added: “I learned to read in St John’s Library. I remember my mother taking me to the library before I even went to school. I always loved the place and enjoyed my visits.

“It’s more than just a place to borrow books, it’s the anchor of St John’s, it keeps St John’s alive, without a library I would have serious concerns about the future economic viability of my community.”

Cllr Chris Cawthorne, who also represents St John’s at the city council, said the most important resource at the library was its staff and it would be a “tragedy” if they were taken away.

She said: “Books can be loaned and returned electronically but it is the people in the library that make it what it is, they organise events, support local people to engage, help with form filling and advice.

“It is so much more than a lender of books.”