Pupils on march in fight for libraries

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Pupil power!

Youngsters from two primary schools took to the streets to show Lancashire County Council it cannot close libraries without a fight.

Children and staff from Northfold and Manor Beach Primary Schools protest against the proposed closure of the libraries in Cleveleys and Thornton

Children and staff from Northfold and Manor Beach Primary Schools protest against the proposed closure of the libraries in Cleveleys and Thornton

Around 60 year-five students from Manor Beach and Northfold schools in Cleveleys staged their own protest march – angry at County Hall proposals which would see their two local library branches close.

The authority needs to save around £200m by 2020/21 and has earmarked more than 230 properties across Lancashire to be closed.

Despite both schools being controlled by the County Council, pupils - led by their headteachers - marched through the streets with banners and placards, asking councillors to think again.

Northfold pupil Billy Brennan, 10 from Cleveleys, was among those leading the way.

He said: “It’s such a great place, somewhere we can come and get books for free.

“Children really like reading and they can come here and get what they want.”

Kacie Watkins, 10, from Cleveleys, goes to Manor Beach.

She said: “We got to the library each week.

“It’s good to be able to get books because we can’t afford to keep buying them.

“Save our libraries, I hope that people will listen.”

Seth Muckelt, 10, a Northfold pupils said: “I really like books and it’s a good place to socialise too.

“I do the Lancashire reading challenge and I don’t want the library to close.”

The pupils marched from Cleveleys library to Thornton Library – both are under the threat of closure.

On the way they were given beeps of support from passing motorists and collected dozens of signatures on a petition.

And teaching staff made clear how important the local libraries are to their students.

Alison Wilson, headteacher at Northfold, said: “Our pupils get a lot out of the library.

“We have a lot of visits to school by the staff and it’s a fantastic service.

“It’s not just the library at Cleveleys, it’s the Childrens’ Centre as well.

“What they are doing it has pushed us to act, we can’t just let it happen.

“It is a disgrace that they want to close them.”

Jane Mason, headteacher at Manor Beach, said: “This is for Cleveleys.

“We believe this is an area of need.

“A lot of parents have not got the resources to go out and by books.

“Everyone is putting pressure on us to ensure children can read to a good standard but they are taking places like this away.”

And Mrs Wilson was amazed by the response from residents during the march.

She said: “ It’s been amazing with drivers tooting and people signing up.

“We’ve had so much support and the pupils have done a wonderful job.”

Library staff were unable to comment on the march but at Thornton the youngsters were welcomed with refreshments.

“It’s wonderful to see the children do this,” said one library user.

“The library is for everyone.”