Councillor Delyth Miles’ letter last week about plans by a local group to run Walton Library with volunteers may or may not result in her idea to have a meeting with Councillor Mark Platt, who is supporting the volunteers.

But they, and any other group, ought to know that recently five volunteer groups who had expressed interest in running their local libraries have completely withdrawn interest.

They include our neighbouring Holland Library which was saved from closure by the Essex wide campaign group Save Our Libraries in Essex.

Those who withdrew discovered the full implications of what they were expected to take on - and they didn’t like what they saw!

Essex County Council is offering £6,000 per year for three years to cover the costs of running the library.

After this they would be responsible for: rates, energy and water costs, cleaning, public liability insurance, maintenance of computers and photocopies, and purchase of books.

They would also have to have a fully trained first aider on duty every opening hour, volunteers would have to undergo disclosure and barring service safeguarding training and registration, as well as health and safety awareness courses.

Dealing with the public is no easy matter and some library visitors are vulnerable and needy which may be expressed in antisocial ways which would frighten untrained volunteers.

The only solution to the county council threat to close 25 libraries in five years is to support SOLE and the Hands Off Walton Library campaign group which is preparing a high court judicial appeal to stop Essex County Council from closing the Libraries.

Sign my national petition which already has 34,880 signatures and aims to secure a parliamentary debate to protect and ring fence library funding for the future, forever at

Steven Walker

Sunny Point, Walton