MORE than 1,400 people have signed a petition calling on the county council to save the embattled Rubery Library.

The Advertiser previously reported that library users in the county were told to ‘use it or lose it’ by the county council as part of a consultation to help the authority save £800,000.

The future of some of Worcestershire’s smaller libraries such as Rubery hangs in the balance as a result.

In November last year a group of protestors gathered outside the building on Library Way with Labour councillor Peter McDonald, who organised a petition urging locals to show their support for the building.

Cllr McDonald said hundreds more have also singed the petition online.

"This clearly shows the feeling for the library and its importance and wellbeing to the local community," he said.

"Yet the council is prepared to rip the heart out of our community by cutting back on libraries which can only be described as an act of cultural vandalism. The consultation that has been carried out was nothing more than a sham."

The cllr added: "Hopefully, the petition raised will make the council re-examine their priorities and recognise the importance of libraries to the local community. That they are a vital resource for the promotion of reading, literature and culture. They are a necessity for the digitally excluded who need to go online to access benefits, health, education and employment resources.

"Shutting our libraries fails our children and elderly; it also weakens communities when we should be doing everything to strengthen them. Libraries are also one of the most solid collective bulwarks against the modern scourge of loneliness: places that offer shared experience and a chance to linger among company, without having to spend any money."

Previously, leader of Worcestershire County Council councillor Simon Geraghty said the consultation was "not about closing libraries" and was instead about preparing the service for the future.

The council has not ruled out complete closures however, but says it would only close libraries as a last resort and hopes to avoid closure by handing over the libraries to district councils and community groups as well as sharing buildings with other public bodies and businesses.

The authority is also open to the idea of making libraries staff-less which means finding and checking out books would become completely self-service.

The library consultation ended on February 28 with the results forming a complete reshape of the county's library service.