DEMONSTRATORS gathered at a library in Worcester, in protest at cuts to library services.

The protest was organised by Sean McCauley and Mark Davies, both members of the Socialist Party, and attended by more than 20 people.

Mr McCauley said: "We started campaigning back in January on some very dark and cold nights and we are lucky to have such a good day for our meeting.

"We have been leafleting round this area and we have had a massive response from people in St John's as well as people from outside the area."

Addressing the crowd, Mr McCauley, who is assistant secretary of the Worcestershire branch of the National Union of Teachers, said: "It is important to remember that while we are campaigning to stop this library from closing, we have to show that we will not put up with libraries anywhere in the county closing.

"The council say they need to make cutbacks in order to save money, but we want to know what they are doing with their reserves."

During the protest, the crowd waved placards and chanted "They say cutback, we say fightback" and were greeted by passing motorists and members of the public, several of whom signed the group's petition to save the library.

One protestor, Liz Griffin, said: "We have lived here since 1983 and our children have used the library all their lives.

"I remember the staff helping my son when he was 14 and wanted to find out which were the best books to read so it would really be a shame to lose them.

"It is more than just a library and more than just a place to go for books. There are community groups who meet here and that is vital at a time when loneliness is such a big issue."

Mark Davies said: "It is important to say this is not just a one-off protest, it is part of a longer campaign which we are still hoping to get mroe people involved with."

The petition sent in by the group was launched last year after Worcestershire County Council said it intended to slash £1 million from its library budget by the end of the financial year in 2021, as a result of cuts to local government funding.

This was later changed to £800,000, the authority saying this was done after speaking with the public.

The petition attracted 2,250 signatures, and was handed in to the county council last week.